I realize this will be mostly opinion, rather than fact, but I am trying to understand the correct proportions of classic salmon flies, especially those with married type wings. One of the problems I am most challenged with is "getting" the right flow or classic proportions. Obvious if you look at my flies. So I want to learn. And this is the best place to learn, no doubt.
I got intrigued by an article on John McLain's web site where he talked about the distance from the end of the tail/topping to the hook bend for various hooks.
Wing length barb hook ratio
It seemed the distance recommended by John McLain from hook bend to tail end was shorter than I expected. So I began to look at other tyers. I started with some examples from Schmookler/Sils website of flies tied by Albert Cohen and by Ron Alcott. I understand many of today's tyers learned from these gents. As you will see they both shared the proportion style of short tails, as does McLain. I captured images from that website (please don't sue me...) and took approximate measurements from the images. I assumed all the proportions are scaled to the hook gap. I took 3 additional measurements:
- The diagonal distance of the tail, from the hook shank to the tip of the tail.
- The perpendicular distance from the hook shank to the height of the tail.
- The perpendicular distance from an imaginary line descending from the tail to the bend of the hook.
Ron Alcott's Gordon
Now fascinated, I looked in my reprint of Kelson. I noted the plates and the engraving illustrations are not of the same proportion, so I can only assume some artistic license was taken by the illustrators. Seems all the plate illustrations share the same proportions.
Then I looked at specimen flies by some of you gents. I selected those that were either classic patterns or in the classic style (let's not go over that discussion again ).
Here is the table of measurements in units of hook gaps (G)
and here are the other specimen flies with measurements indicated.
Kelson's Instruction Fly 1, and Gordon
Dave Carne's Carnegie
Bud Guidry's Carribean
Matt Inman's UGA Home Jersey
Mike Boyer's Green Parson
Aaron Ostoj's Wild Irishman
Dave Gotzmer's Lion
So it is now apparent that there is no "perfect" Classic Salmon fly proportion. At the risk of starting an "animated" discussion, what IS the right proportion, or perhaps better said what is the right porportion in your eyes? Is the best guidance to tie within the parameters of the "established" tyers until one is ready to select one's favorite proportion which becomes part of one's style?