Who invented the "Haystack" fly ?
If there were a poll taken here, I would wager that 99% would respond, Fran Betters.....right?
Well, apparently that's not quite accurate.
I am a really big fan of Fran a Betters. I even have a couple of his flies and one of the vises he used.
The world of fly tying back in the 50 's through the 70's was a much smaller world. No internet....no YouTube videos....many fewer books, etc.
Anyway, I was reading the tiny little "booklet" "Comparahatch" by Caucci/Natasi...........The little black book on top of their big book "Hatches"
On pages 49/50 of the little booklet, Caucci recounts that he was fishing the Adirondack one day and had no luck at all. He stopped in at Fran Betters' fly shop and told of his non-catch day. Betters took out a "monstrous-looking fly...." and told him "Try a Haystack - if that don't bring em up, nothin' will."
Caucci then related that Fran said he had been tying the fly for almost 20 years and his father had used a crude version of it many years before that.
Caucci then says that he concluded the Haystack "....must be a pattern local to the Adirondacks as I have searched exhaustively for it in every fly-tying book and dictionary imaginable, but have drawn a complete blank as to its dressing and origin."
Thus, it may or may not have been invented by either of the Betters. Certainly, it was popularized, and presumably refined, by Fran Betters.
The point, for me, is that Caucci incorporated and refined this fly he saw at Fran's fly shop which he termed "Examination showed it (The Haystack) to be a curious, outlandish abortion." into the present day Compara-Dun which, I believe, as such or even as a Sparkle-Dun is one of the most effective dry flies ever invented.
Last edited by Byron haugh; 05-08-2014 at 12:16 AM.