The Victorians and Fly Fishing 6

The Chatterer - Fully Dressed Salmon Fly

The 1890s were the high water mark in the world of fly fishing, in particular the ultimate in traditional "fully-dressed" salmon fly design. Influenced by George Kelson, John Traherne and others, some tyers made spectacular creations of fur and feather were tied. Their exuberant reflected the confidence of the Victorians. And there was an incredible number of different patterns in common use. Kelson alone gave 300 different tyings in his book, and Hale and Hardy even more than that. A thriving import trade grew up around the need for exotic feathers. There were some voices of dissent against the fully-dressed salmon fly, but it was nevertheless to dominate salmon fly fishing until the early 1950s. In this same period there was but one trout fishing development that overshadowed the others, and that the discovery of the dry fly. Not only did the popularity of the upstream dry fly method have an huge impact on rod design, but it split trout fishermen into two distinct camps. In the 1890s, saw trout wet fly fishing development stall. Dry fly took the lead and drove fly fishing technology for the next century.

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