The nice thing about doing "Just Old Flies" articles
is that every now and again you hear from a reader, and
that's just how this article came to be. Jere Haas
contacted me out of the blue, and has made me aware of
an old Pennsylvania pattern called the February Red. Jere
tells me he does quite well with this fly on the Bushkill
in Easton, Pa., and to me, it's just one of those patterns
that looks "fishy."
I can tell that Jere is my kind of fisherman, and obviously
very experienced. The proof is in the following sentence,
which followed his telling me of a spot not fished by many
anymore, in a condition of very low water, where: "I stumbled
across a monster feeding in about a foot of water. I'm guessing
he's between 24" to 26". I'm reluctant to catch him for fear
of stressing a fish that large and chance doing him harm. Geez,
listen to me - like I've got him hooked already. At least I
know he's there. " Someone without his knowledge and respect
for his quarry could have really harmed this fish. Someone
who hadn't ever caught a big fish before might have been too
tempted. There is a time to leave the fish for later, and Jere
understands that better than most.
The effectiveness of this fly is predicated on the floss.
Jere Haas was shown this fly by his grandfather, and the
color of the silk floss with which it's tied he called
"Terre-cotta." It was produced in the '30s, and is the
secret of the fly. Jere was kind enough to send me a
considerable amount of this treasure, and I plan to
make good use of it. Jere describes it as a dusty rose
color, and that's as good a description as any. This
floss changes color in the water, and that's part of
the secret. There is apparently no more of this floss
in existence, at least none of which we are aware.
Jere says this about the hook he likes to use on the
fly: "The Feb Red was originally tied on a Mustad 7948A,
size 14. It was a short shank, flat forged TDE hook
that I don't even think is made anymore. It seemed to
work well in 12, 14, &16 - Wet, nymph and dry -
just use a lighter ribbing for the dries. The nymph is
really a neat fly too. It is tied on a 1 xl hook, like
a 3906B, and uses black ostrich herl over the back and
crow wing tied in a humped fashion like an emerger with
a black hackle. I use them when the Isonyichias are active."
I tied mine on a plain old wet fly hook. If you'd like
to see Jere's tie, it can be found on
Ed Gallop's site.
I'm going to take mine and see what I can do with it
here in Ohio. The sign outside my door reads "Gone Fishing."
Recipe for the February Red:
Hook: Mustad 7948A size 14.
Thread: Danville pre-waxed black monocord.
Tail: Lemon wood duck (sparse).
Body: Circa 1930 terra cotta silk floss. This
floss is dusty-rose color when dry but turns the color
of raw beef liver when wet.
Rib: Fine oval gold tinsel.
Hackle: Barred rock hen with as defined a barring
as you can get. ~ Eric Austin