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The Gartside Gurgler

By George E. Emanuel
Pennsauken, NJ, USA
Photos by the Author

Gartside Gurgler

It was great to renew my acquaintance with Jack Gartside at the Flyfishing Show held at Somerset, New Jersey this past January.

I am particularly happy and proud to present this fly for you to ad to your pattern book. You see, Jack was the first teacher I ever had when I first started tying flies some dozen years or so ago when I lived in Jamison City, Pennsylvania.

Barry and Cathy Beck who at that time were the owners of Fishing Creek Outfitters, and my neighbors in Benton, hosted a 2 day tying class taught by Jack over a bleak mountain weekend in February.

Had I known that he was teaching an intermediate to advanced class I might have thought twice about enrolling, but, as Thomas Jefferson once observed, "with ignorance and confidence, success is assured." Having rather substantial quantities of these requisites, I plunged headlong into fly tying. And thanks to the patience and understanding of one Jack Gartside, who no doubt wondered why I had chosen to start in the middle rather than at the beginning as most people would have done, I was inducted into the fraternity of feather sniping, hair spinning, and colorful language we call our hobby.

Now Jack Gartside is a very well educated individual. He is a true genius in every sense of that oft over used phrase. He is also, and I have said this to him personally, and with much affection, one of the most delightfully eccentric individuals it has ever been my pleasure to meet.

He can be seen in magazines previously printed scanning the flats from a beach chair. As proud as any so called "captain" poling from the platform of a flats skiff.

He has been known to fish the deeper waters of the flats from the back of a rather large and tall inflatable giraffe. Yes, I said an inflatable giraffe.

He goes beyond road kill acquisition of materials. His fox patterns were spawned from a womans wrap purchased at a Goodwill Store for a quarter. He was actually shopping for a weeks wardrobe on a trip to Florida when he made the find. Yes, he very often buys his clothing at Goodwill or a local used clothing outlet. After all, the more you can save on the non-essentials, the more money you have available for that which truly enhances the quality of life... fishing.

This fly, the Gartside Gurgler, is just one of the hundreds that this very gifted man has designed in the pursuit of piscatorial nirvana.

It was intended as a striper fly as tied here. It can be white as shown for daytime, or tied in black for night fishing. These are the basics, the "jumping off point" as it were.

One thing Gartside inspires is creativity and the freeing of ones imagination. To look into the face of convention and simply say, "no thank you!"

Tie this smaller, in yellow and go after any of the 40 sunfishes. Or a bit larger, in green for bass in cover. (Certainly you can add a weed guard.)

As Lefty Kreh says of his deceiver, "It is a way of tying something, not just a pattern." I am sure Jack would offer you the same advice. do as you will with the fly, make it work for you where you fish.

This is not just another saltwater fly. Although it is deadly. The "Gurgler" is not a popper, and it is not a slider. It is used in those situations where a loud pop will scare skittish fish, but where you want to let them know of it's presence.

If you want or need a "slider", as I frequently do on the water, simply cut off the collar and you have an instant slider. OK, enough of the talking, now let's tie the "Gartside Gurgler."

Materials List:

Hook: Mustad 3407 sizes 2-2/0.

Thread: White 3/0.
Tail: Sparse bucktail over which are a few strands of Pearl Crystal Flash, or Glimmer.
Body: Segmented white closed cell foam.
Rib: Natural grizzly hackle.
Shell: White foam pulled forward over body.

Tying Instructions:

Begin by laying down a thread base from the eye to a point opposite the hook point.

Cut a strip of foam from the sheet approximately 5/8" wide and as long as the sheet. (by using the full length for tying in, you will waste very little of your foam, as the exact length needed to tie the fly will be cut.)

Now tie in a sparse bunch of bucktail starting about 3/16" behind the eye, and tie down firmly to the point opposite the hook point, and back to the eye. Tie a few strands of crystal flash, glimmer, or flashabou over the bucktail as above and bring the thread back to the hook point as shown.

Step 2

Place your foam strip over the top of the hook shank and measure it to a point about 1/8" behind the eye. Tie in over the hook point. Tie off and cut your thread.

Tie down the front of the foam at the eye, tie off and cut the thread.

Next, divide the area between the two tie down points in whatever number of segments pleases you, here I have three. But you can have four or five.

Tie on and secure each of your segments in order by tying, tying off and cutting the thread. This is a bit more work, but it leads to nice crisp segmentation.

Step 2

Take a natural grizzley hackle and tie in over the hook point at the rear of the body. Wind the hackle forward "palmer style" being careful to make the transition from segment to segment on top of the fly where the "crossover" will not be seen. Leave the thread at the front of the fly.

Step 2

Bring the foam strip over the body and tie in at the front of the fly just behind the eye.

Step 2

Bring the foam toward the rear and tie in a good thread base immediately in front of the "flap" so as to help it to stand upright.

Step 2

Now tie off the thread, and coat the head with Daves Fleximent. Cut the excess foam, leaving a tab of about 3/8" to 1/2" (or proportioned for smaller flies as shown.

This front view is coincidentally what the wind sees as you cast the fly. It is quite aerodynamic, and casts with no difficulty.

Step 2

(If you want, you can pull a couple of strands of the flash forward and tie in at the collar for a finishing touch before tying off. Gartside's original was done this way.)

Fishing the Fly:

This fly is fished as you would a popper or slider, fast or slow, long or short as the fish dictate at the time. As with most flies there is no "set" way to move it, so try a variety of techniques until you find the one that works today.

Who knows, someday, on some flat, you may see a tall handsome stranger with a long slender rod in his hand extolling his inflatable giraffe onward in pursuit of fish. "Thanks Jack, you have made the world a better place !"

Jack Gartside has several self published books available including the following:

"Fly Patterns for the Adventurous Tyer, Volume One" (Freshwater Fly Patterns.)

"Fly Patterns for the Adventurous Tyer, Volume Two" (Saltwater Fly Patterns.)

"Striper Flies."

"Flies for the Twenty First Century."

Jack may be contacted to order books at:

Jack Gartside
10 Sachem Street
Boston, MA. 02120
Phone: (617) 277-5831

Let me know how you make out with this fly, I love to hear success stories! Good Fishing, ~ George Manual

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