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English version

A story about a fly and itīs originator

The Bradley special
By Niklas Dahlin

  Most dry flies fished in America during the end of 1800īs were mostly imported English patterns dressed to suite English waters. Because of this dry fly fishing wasnīt very common at this time. But in the end of the 1800īs that started to change, one of the pioneers was Theodore Gordon sometimes called “father of American dry fly fishing”. Most fishermen have heard of Mr Gordon, but there was offcourse others. I will with this piece try to tell a little story about a fly and itīs originator.

  I first saw the “Bradley Special” in a fly swap I hosted, it was tied by my friend Roy Christie. It didnīt look like much but something with itīs simplicity caught my attention. Off course the fact of me never heard of it before also added some spice to the situation. The rumour says that a William A. Chandler, a well known fly fisherman from the banks of Neversink originated this fly. He was a good flytier and tied all his flies himself as the imported ones from England didnīt satisfie him. Chandler had great belief in that the wings was the most important part of the fly and also he added extra fibers to the tail, the common way at this time was two to three fibers but Chandler could use up to six sometimes even eight fibers.

  The “Bradley Special” is the result of Chandler and his friend, Beaverkill trout club member William A. Bradley efforts. Chandler and Bradley was experimenting with a dry fly for fast water. They came up with a fly dressed with brownish mallard flank for the wing, rough blue/gray fur from the back of the red squirrel spun in a double strand of red silk. Finally medium red hackle for hackle and tail. Chandler later gave the fly the name after his friend.

  In later years Mr Bradley had his “Bradley Specialīs” made by the Detteīs. You could really tell that Chandler and Bradley had experimented with this fly as he wanted the fly tied in several different wayīs depending on the water, weather conditions etc. The Detteīs did during this time make these special orders for their customers. They had a special card with Bradleyīs different dressings for his belowed fly. In Eric Leisers book “the Dettes” you can understand that Mr Bradley was a quite demanding customer, he also made them promise not to sell the fly to any other customer. Winnie said -Quite frankly, he was a real pain in the you know what.

The Detteīs – Eric Leiser
Trout fishing in the Catskills – Ed Van Put


Hook: Model perfect ex Mustad 94840.
Tail: Medium red cape
Body: blue/gray fur from the back of the red squirrel spun in a double strand of red silk.
Wing: Mallard flank tied divided (also tied with Mandarine, Woodduck, Teal and Mallard breast fan wing)
Hackle: Medium red cape

By Niklas Dahlin

Visit Niklas Blogg site


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