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Harry Darbee two-feather

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#1 ted patlen

ted patlen

    marstons mills, massachusetts....cape cod

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 03:05 PM

My understanding, Harry Darbee had a customer who wanted a very big dry fly  on a short hook for fishing teh wide calm , moving flats of the lower Beaverkill.  For those who do not know the water imagine a flowing lake...


Anyway he came up with this design sometime around 1960.  Is it a classic?   Not in the terms of the many better know dry flies but it is a very unique pattern that floats like a cork, lands softly and can imitate any mayfly but is bets suited for those huge drakes, iso's, and hex's.  


They are very easy to tye and somewhat durable, but the ease in tying counter acts any strengt issues.


Attached File  two feather vise.jpg   29.56K   286 downloads


the tails, body and wings are all from one feather that can be just about any feather you wish.  spade hackles (Harry's preference)  teal, mallard etc... I have pulled out two woody flanks feathers for example.   the fibers should be even on each side of the shaft  if not the balance will be off.   for fishing flies , and this is a great fishing fly,  the wings and tail can be snips to size to help the balance....DON"T be afraid to trim the wings...EVERYBODY did it !!!


Attached File  woody%20flank.jpg   63.31K   288 downloads


hook...a short shanked up/straight or down eyed hook ,  whatever you wish.   scud hooks, emerger , whatever     spider hooks   it's up to you.    what size...again up to you but the idea was to make a huge dry fly with a small hook    you can tye a hex onto an 18 if you wish...


the hook acts like a keel and you can get a great low floating fly if you trim the hackle on the bottom....what hackle?   any you wish  it doesn't have to be the highest grade but it helps.   


a cape pond hex and a two feather in use.     


Attached File  2014-08-08 20.04.50.jpg   119.59K   221 downloads

Attached File  2014-08-09 19.06.10.jpg   68.45K   195 downloads


i have no idea why this fly has lost it's appeal




#2 Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 03:52 PM



I had the pleasure of knowing Elsie and Harry Darbee pretty well...as in more than acquaintances but less than close friends and their flies have never failed to get my attention. This one falls into the way cool category for sure.


The only reason I can figure why it lost its appeal...it may be "somewhat durable", but it sure looks quite fragile...and convincing the paying customer otherwise may have been difficult.




Petri Heil,



"I've spent many days on the golf course and said I should have gone fishing.

But I've NEVER been on a trout stream or Atlantic Salmon river and said I should have played golf." - Me

#3 geraldsherbrook


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Posted 19 June 2015 - 05:00 PM

Dear TED,


psttttttttttttttttttttt as YOU I am not coming in a lot...only once in a while !!! hahahaha (ah otherwise I must not tie any flies anymore, must not go fishing anymore ...yes it would  only be reposting and interacting with the 'friends' uphere on any of the side forums)...


pstttttttttttttttt I know this fly by now sooooooo well and I am very very pleased YOU putted up this thread TED !!!


pstttttttttttttttttttttttt overhere HARRY DARBEE his 'two feather' fly&pattern is known at least and luckely I would say ...a  tinny bit in OUR small country


must admit that perhaps she came more to US Belgium flyfishermen   'via' articles in magazines or on the internety as certainly flytyingvideo's on the internet.


Yes we have luckely still a bit of a 'mayfly hatch' on our 'Belgium Ardennes' streams/rivers aswell as in our neighbouring countries  Germany and France...


Yes I tied this DARBEE pattern allready...and yes I fished with her...and OH yes I even caught trout with DARBEE mayflies...


but but but and perhaps we will come all to the same conclusion...TROUT can become also selectif on 'Green Drakes'...and WE tie them 'often' TOOOOOOO BIG...


and and and if I am confronted with REAL what we call uphere mayflies...I tie something on considerably smaller than the real 'ones' who are coming on the water...and most of the times THIS BRINGS success !!!


Don't ask me why YOU take them on something smaller than the real ones...it is just a fact !!!


Ted I launch here a couple of extra photo's ...tied all by my 'vise' hahahahaha....exept the OLD 'reversed' ones...


THANKS for putting HARRY DARBEE once more in the picture ...




PS ....IMPORTANT notice...let say that in the three last photos YOU see what I mean with MUCH smaller typ flies (who still bear something 'mayfly like' in their dressing... be it in shape or colour


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#4 Dale A. Darling

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 05:42 PM

Thanks Ted.
A great pattern created with practical innovation using the materials at hand.
I'm tying rubber legged bullet heads on a 8 hook. Thread, dubbing, elk and rubber. Too many materials. What are you going to do?
Thanks Sr Yo
Dale "Fly fishing: a pleasantly addictive affliction"

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#5 flyryan


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Posted 19 June 2015 - 07:58 PM

mayfly was a disaster here this year too cold fish didnt eat them 5 days fishing for 3 fish

Ryan Houston


to see the rest of the flies i have tied just visit  facebook page and browse my photos or galleries






#6 taonga


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Posted 20 June 2015 - 08:27 AM

What a floating wonder


Remember to live your life, there are no replay of it!

#7 Ronn Lucas

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 03:59 AM

Very nice fly Ted!! See you next week!

Happy Trails!

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#8 ted patlen

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 03:20 PM

hey ronn see you soon.

#9 Gordeaux


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Posted 01 September 2016 - 06:16 PM

I tied some of these for my late spring trip to the mountains of central Pa. and they performed very admirably.  Floated like a cork, had a hard tie telling the fly from a natural, the tout ate them and held together very well.