North Country Spiders

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19 Fut Sheelin

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IanG

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I have fished with what are now mistakenly called North Country Spiders for over 30 years on many of their ancestral rivers as well as further a field in both North & South America as well as Australia and New Zealand and can vow for there effectiveness on lakes and Stillwaters too. I have over many years tied flies for many clients all over the world via my old “Snipe and Purple” website. And have had many reports on there effectivness.
Mistakenly people refer to patterns like Partridge & Orange, Snipe & Purple and the like as SPIDERS, which in fact they are not. If you read all the traditional literature on these patterns the term spider does not occur. Spider was a term populated by Stewart to describe a few patterns tied by James Baillie of Scotland and not the traditional north of England patterns popularised by Pritt, Edmonds and Lee to name but a few. Unfortunately due to the ignorance of many of our famous self professed experts in magazines and on DVDs the term spider has been mistakenly used to describe the traditional wet fly patterns of northern England. In Scotland there is vast tradition of fishing spiders as well as traditional forms of wet fly like the Tweed, Clyde and Tummel patterns, are these Spiders ? Most assuredly NO!
It is a sad reflection on today’s anglers that they don’t know or investigate the history of the patterns and styles of patterns they use, if they did they would realise that most of what is spoken about North Country Spiders becomes complete bunkum due to the fact that their central starting premise the term “Spider” is wrong.


OK, but if it is tied like a spider, looks like a spider and you fish it like a spider, I am happy to continue life in the land of ignorance. Furthermore, if asking a neighbouring angler what he is fishing and he answers 'spiders' I will be unlikely to quiz him further to acertain if he has a partridge and orange on his cast, and then go to the trouble of correcting him, if he has.
Also, not sure how sad of a refelection it is on todays experts this is (or on the everyday river angler for that matter) that this myth persists.
 

DrRob

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OK, but if it is tied like a spider, looks like a spider and you fish it like a spider, I am happy to continue life in the land of ignorance. Furthermore, if asking a neighbouring angler what he is fishing and he answers 'spiders' I will be unlikely to quiz him further to acertain if he has a partridge and orange on his cast, and then go to the trouble of correcting him, if he has.
Also, not sure how sad of a refelection it is on todays experts this is (or on the everyday river angler for that matter) that this myth persists.

A Partridge & Orange isn't tied like a spider!!!!!
Your reply just highlights your total ignorance of fly tying in regards to the north country patterns and perpetuates it for others to copy.
 

IanG

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A Partridge & Orange isn't tied like a spider!!!!!
Your reply just highlights your total ignorance of fly tying in regards to the north country patterns and perpetuates it for others to copy.

Yes I know that ! you stated that clearly in your post - thats where I found out from ! - you don't have to tell me again. I am merely pointing out that the fact that a partridge and orange is not a spider is not important to very very many more people than those who think that it is important.

Here it is again - 'the fact that a partridge and orange is not a spider, and furthermore, is mistakenly referred to as a spider pattern, is not important to most river anglers.'

Accept it, and leave it alone.

Alternatively, go back to pedant's corner, with any likeminded individuals, and sit around and have a pint and plan how best to progress your ' freedom, rights and recognition for spider patterns' crusade.
Oh, and by the way, do you find that you have to clean door handles rather more often than is really necessary? Just wondering.
 

DrRob

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Alternatively, go back to pedant's corner, with any likeminded individuals, and sit around and have a pint and plan how best to progress your ' freedom, rights and recognition for spider patterns' crusade.
Oh, and by the way, do you find that you have to clean door handles rather more often than is really necessary? Just wondering.

Ian,
Your second post shows what a complete and utter ****** you are. Why don't you take your door handle and shove it right up your f**king A*se! Pr*ck.
 

IanG

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Ian,
Your second post shows what a complete and utter ****** you are. Why don't you take your door handle and shove it right up your f**king A*se! Pr*ck.

ooops - relax dude. Apart from the pedant's corner stuff, some valid points made in second post, which I stand by

Ian
ps - If I do what you suggest with your door handle, you will be polishing it for ages......
 

Spider

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Possibly misinterpreting here, but I think the Spiders only referred to the very "hairy" looking wets tied by Stewart, as opposed to say a Snipe and Purple.

However I think the term "spider" was probably is use before we were born - its certainly not a phenomenon of say the last 10 years.

Either way, I'm sure the elders of that time would be pleased that the somewhat unusual and very original flies of Yorkshire, Derbyshire,Scotland etc are being used and discussed by anglers today.

In between door handles and bottoms of course.

Stop arguing men, and be glad you're all alive and waiting for a new season to dawn.
 

guest21

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Mc Lellan, 'How To Tie Flies', first published 1898, my first fly tying book purchased in Sept.1959, referred to a fly with a complete, 360 degree, shoulder hackle, no wing, as a 'Buzz Fly'. I don't suppose he will rotate in his grave if someone abuses him, verbally, posthumously. I've been calling them, 'Spiders' for one heck of a long time. We do that up here in Cumbria, generally. The language is growing and changing all the time. Cursing people for accepting that which is common practice is not going to change anything -- except our regard for and opinion of those who go over the top. 'Moderation in all things', is a wonderful maxim. Cheers TC

PS Just a thought. Some people call all the ephemrid species, 'Mayflies' these days. Now I object to that, because a Mayfly is a very large aquatic insect, which emerges in May (and June, and Julyetc )
The March brown is a fairly large fly that we associate with March and April, in the main; the July dun is a very small epemeropteran, a baetid, that emerges in high summer; the August, or autumn, dun is bigger than March brown, (both belong to the heptagenidae) but smaller than the true Mayfly, which is an ephemerid. How can anyone justify calling these three flies, 'Mayflies'? If misuse of the term 'Spider' causes a 'hissy fit', misuse of 'Mayflies' ought to cause an even worse affliction.
 
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Highlander

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I do not think that going that far back in history serves any great purpose other than for background info.
As for the Partridge & Orange not being a Spider I think I can live "in my ignorance" for a while longer.
Tight Lines
 

guest21

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I have actually heard Oliver Edwards refer to hackled wets as 'spiders', and I know him well enough to know what he would reply to anyone who slanged him for misuse of the term.
Calling a 'Buzz' fly or a 'Hackle' fly a spider is not particularly misleading. We all know what the profile looks like. Highlander is right, I am happy to share my ignorance in excellent company. Cheers TerryC
 

.D.

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...................
PS Just a thought. Some people call all the ephemrid species, 'Mayflies' these days. Now I object to that, because a Mayfly is a very large aquatic insect, which emerges in May (and June, and Julyetc )
The March brown is a fairly large fly that we associate with March and April, in the main; the July dun is a very small epemerid that emerges in high summer; the August, or autumn, dun is bigger than March brown, but smaller than the true Mayfly. How can anyone justify calling these three flies, 'Mayflies'? If misuse of the term 'Spider' causes a 'hissy fit', misuse of 'Mayflies' ought to cause an even worse affliction.

Are you saying the Yellow Mayfly, Potomanthus luteus is not a species of mayfly?

By the way I think you might be better off using the term 'ephemeropteran' rather than 'ephemerid' to cover little mayflies/dayflies/ upwings (call them what you will!). The term 'ephemerid' would be more usefully applied to members of the family Ephemeridae, represented by the genus Ephemera in the UK e.g. The Mayfly, Ephemera danica. Sorry, but it's that sort of thread.

There's nothing 'wrong' with using the word 'mayfly' in the looser sense. I take it you didn't see that Swarm ( I think that's what it was called) show on the BBC recently. Spectacular mayfly swarms, in Wisconsin I think;). Though I can understand why some people get wound up about it, and might prefer to champion the use of other words.


Anyway, back on topic, what a dreadful thread! I'll probably go with 'hackled wets' rather than 'spiders' from now, so as not to cause offense or soiled underwear. I cannot wait until you lot get started on 'bumbles' :rolleyes:.





.D.
 

guest21

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Hi' D. I thank you for your correction, you are absolutely right to make it, and I do not take offence. I made the reference to the 'Mayfly' blanket title because I do think it could mislead newcomers to fly fishing. July Dun, March Brown and August Dun? Mayfly?
I joined FFF to try to help newcomers, of all ages, not to score points off people, or verbally abuse them. Thanks for not swearing at me.:):) Cheers TerryC
 

grey duster

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I cannot resist making an observation on this thread; the point of language is to communicate effectively and with both precision (it means the same thing every time ) and with accuracy (when I use a term it you understand what I mean by it). If I use the term "North Country Spider" and you understand by that a set of soft hackled flies which includes as exemplars the Partridge and Orange, Snipe and Purple, and Waterhen Bloa then the term "North Country Spider" means just that class - even if they do not conform to the definition of "Spider" - being a fly tied in a specific way. In precisely the same way a "Honey Buzzard" (Pernis aviporus) is not a "Buzzard" (Genus Buteo) and a Red Tailed Hawk (which is actually a Buzzard) is not a Hawk (which may refer to the family Accipitridae, or in this country the genus Accipiter). This does not mean that these names are incorrect - because they convey precisely the meaning intended. I know what someone means if they say "Honey Buzzard". The qualification "Honey" - if used in pointing out the bird - would prevent me saying that the identification was incorrect because it wasn't a Buzzard.
I finally see why people object to my complaints about their use of the term "seagull" (in that there is no such bird as a "seagull")! It refers to any member of the family Laridae commonly associated with the British Seaside and which may therefore include Black Headed, Lesser Black Back, Greater Black Back, Common (or in the US "Mew") Gull and Herring Gull.
GD
 

grey duster

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The only flies definitively called spiders are Stewarts hackled flies, because he decided to call them spiders.
By exactly the same token the P&O, S&P and Waterhen Bloa are "North Country Spiders" because (for example) Oliver Edwards (to mention just one person along with several hundred other mentions by posters in various posts on the forum have decided to call them such.

I know (because of a specific interest in and knowledge of the taxonomy of birds) that a Honey Buzzard isn't a Buzzard - doesn't stop the name "Honey Buzzard being a "correct" functional english name for the bird - see the parallel?

GD
 

IanG

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If people don't want such information, or don't care about it, or consider it worthless, then why do those same people feel constrained to comment on it, and even abuse others who do find it interesting?

Nobody is being force fed here. Anything you don't like you can simply ignore.

It is a lot harder to ignore personal insults and slurs, which are the almost inevitable result of such comments.

Tight Lines! ~ Mike Connor

Hi Mike
I get your drift. However, I felt a need to reply, due to being part of a group of people who were, by inference, being belittled and ridiculed for failing to have the knowledge that a snipe and purple is not,in fact, a spider pattern.
I have absolutely no objection to anyone being interested in whatever facet of fly tying/fishing they wish, and to whatever level of detail/depth. But in the same way as I would not appreciate being lectured by a vegan, as to why I should not eat meat, or told by a bible basher that I will burn in hell for not thinking the same way they do, I object to basically being called an ***** for 1) not having sufficient knowledge on the origin of north country wet fly patterns and 2) being happy to continue what is widely used, though technically incorrect, terminology for what most people condider to be spider patterns.

I hope that explains things sufficiently.

Cheers

Ian
 

The Famous Grouse

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Grouse I do not know where you got that one from, Another inventing the wheel perchance. I correspond on a few American boards & I have never heard of North Country Flies called that.
Soft Hackles or even Flymph mistakingly but never "English Wetfly"
Tight lines

I've heard it several times and I believe I've seen it referenced in fly catalogs as "English-style" or the like. Don't worry, I don't think it's another vast American conspiracy to steal your fly fishing heritage.

I would guess it stems from the fact that the patterns and much of the information about how to tie and fish them comes from--wait for it--England. It also quite probably is used as a differentiator, because if you say "wet fly" over here, these are not the patterns that most anglers will associate with the term.

Interestingly, my two 'murican buddies fish them almost exclusively on the PA and Maryland streams. Usually a team of three flies..heavyish nymph on the middle dropper, Spider on point and top.

Every so often I run into another angler who uses them, but like fishing streamer patterns in the UK, it's pretty rare. At a guess, Roy, I'd say your buddies picked them up because they saw them in fly tying books and decided to try them? That's the common thread I've heard from those that I've met who do use them, that they picked up on the patterns from books and other sources. Maybe they are more commonly used back east as a regional pattern?

Anyway, commercial versions are few and far between. Going into your average fly shop in the midwest or west and asking for a snipe and purple will very likely produce a blank stare and asking for a North Country Spider certainly would. Again, maybe they are more common back east, but I don't ever recall seeing a large selection of them offered even from a eastern retailer like LL Bean or Orvis.

But certainly an effective class of flies, whatever you want to call them.

Grouse
 

Clunk

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Just tuned in to this hiarious thread


It is a sad reflection on today’s anglers that they don’t know or investigate the history of the patterns and styles of patterns they use.

My good Doctor, wake up and smell the coffee.

PPS
 

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