Category: Historical References


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The deer hair mouse Chris gave to me was one of his signature deer fly patterns among many others in my collection. Davy Wotton

In remembrance,

It was with sadness that l learned today that my friend Chris Helm passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Many of you may have met Chris at the many fly fishing events around the country demonstrating his fly tying skills, he was one of the worlds best tyers and a master at tying deer hair flies, all be it Chris was a very accomplished tyer for all types of fly.

Many of you may have in the past obtained your fly tying materials from Whitetail fly tying supplies which was the name of the business Chris operated from his home in Toledo.

Recently he sold the business.

I first met Chris many years ago at a fly tying event in the East. He also became one of the Partridge of Redditch Hook Company road show hosts back in the 90’s before the company was sold to Mustad.
This was a event that we at Partridge hosted in many countries of the world at which many of the worlds best fly tyers attended to demonstrate their skills.
Those were fun days for sure.

Davy

(Posted November 29th, 2014 by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle)

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l am frequently asked about my Whitetail midge history, so here it is.

Back when l lived in the UK, l was a serious competitive fly fisher, fished at International level for my country-Wales, and many other events that were hosted in the EU.
Back in those days 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s to some extent what we know now was not; in many cases it was still the order of fishing the traditional wet fly as that was what was generally accepted as the way to go.
That said, during this time stillwater flyfishing began a serious advance so far as use of more imitative fly patterns representing the natural food sources which in the case of stillwaters was primarily chironomids also called Buzzers in EU.

That also brought about many new techniques using very long leaders and different fly lines, dry, intermediate, sink and full sink lines to enable the flies to be fished at the depth the fish were cruising.

That said there were early imitations for chironomids, the best known at the time called  “Bells’ Buzzer”, a very simple fly, floss body, silver rib, a tuft of white hackle at the head and a ugly thorax of peacock herl. It worked but not as good as many of the newer patterns that followed.

In those days aside from selling fly materials l also tied flies commercially, about 60 to 70,000 a year. I also had innovation in so far as developing new fly patterns, many of which are still around to day and produced by other commercials sources.

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Davy setting up for the Midge Tying DVD filming at his home in Arkansas. (Photo courtesy of TBird)

Some of my early chironomids incorporated Pearsalls silk bodies of different colors over wound with poly taken from bread bags, other options were added such as wing pads and breathing filaments.

After reading a book by my late friend, John Goddard, who wrote in my opinion the best publication to date related to UK stillwater food sources, it came to my attention that the means by which a chironomid moved was by thrashing its tail filaments. Its -“Caudal fin”. That inspired me to add a small tail of white marabou which had great movement, thus the white tail midge was born back in the 80’s. And, what a success it was for me on the competition scene and that was way before the days of bead heads.

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Seen here are 2 Whitetail Midge patterns as well as the Blood Midge developed by Davy. Pictured patterns were tied by Teresa " TBird " Van Winkle.

 I fished the White and Norfork Rivers often before l chose to live here and had at times messed around fishing Whitetail Midges with good success. Subsequently, l later refined my patterns to suit our waters with newer materials, not to mention adding bead heads, all be it there will be times l use the flies without beads heads.

That said, there are times that it is important to closely match the hatch, that said overall so far as these rivers that is generally not the case.

I can guarantee that if you carry a range of the different Whitetail Midge patterns you cannot fail to catch fish assuming you rig the system right, which is correct relationship from your indicator for the water depth, and you use both choice of size and color to suit the conditions.

In fact l would go so far as to say it is the number one fly to consistently catch fish on the Arkansas tailwaters, as it has also proved to be the case from many other rivers from East to West.

Davy Wotton

(posted by Teresa ” TBird ” Van Winkle September 6th, 2014)

No doubt all along with Davy have seen many examples of “his” Davy Knot and the Double-Davy Knot.

Having said that; below is a link for you which Davy has ask that I post on our Journal:
Davy Knot and Double Davy Knot

Posted June 18,2014 (TBird)

Davy’s professional career began in the 1960’s as a professional fly tyer from his home in Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom. From that he progressed into the mail-order business and in the 1970’s began to both develop and manufacture fly tying and fly fishing products and further the knowledge of fly fishing through written articles for publication.
Davy is most widely known for the world famed SLF Dubbing Blend Series. Individuals that Davy has produced custom dubbing blends for are Dave Whitlock, Paul Jorgenson, Oliver Edwards, and Toril Kolbu, just to name a few.
The company grew vigorously through-out the world and in the 1980’s Davy moved back to Wales where he leased a larger building. Distribution of U.S. products to the European market he then began to promote as well as bridging the British market to the U.S. in fly fishing materials and products.
In addition to managing daily functions in his factory, Davy also found time to accept bookings for fly fishing event around the world which also provided him the opportunity to fish many trout waters that he otherwise would not have had the chance to do as well as guiding fly fishers in the pursuit of Trout and Salmon in many countries.
One thing that Davy is not so widely known for, but, carries a soft spot in his life was his love of bluegrass music for which he also traveled as a professional musician accomplished in both banjo and guitar.
Over the years Davy has consulted for many of the worlds varied fly fishing product manufacturers and was contracted to design fly patterns which are now commercially produced and marketed both in the USA and world markets still today.
Davy has worked for many national television networks featuring fly fishing and tying in conjunction with Fly Fish TV and Mr. Gene Herring and also has produced his own Davy Wotton “How To” Fly Fish and Tying DVD’s.
Other major interest for Davy were competitive fly fishing where he won many national and international events and subsequently became the International Team Coach for the Youth Team USA which resulted in their first year of competitive fishing in Wales bringing home both Gold and Silver Medals.
The ones he considers personal best achievements are winning a Gold Medal at Loch Leven and the National Championships in the United Kingdom.
Tournament fly and surf casting in both distance and accuracy also won Davy awards in the U.K and still holds the accuracy record to this day at the Edenbridge Gamefair, U.K.
During his career he has represented both as an officer and board member of many different fly fishing organizations in the pursuit of conservation and fisheries management policies.
Currently he serves locally as the President of the Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery and as 2009 Chairman of the National Fisheries Friends Partnership seated in Arlington, Virginia.
In 2008, Davy was given an award signifying his outstanding service toward fisheries and conservation by Regional Director, Sam Hamilton of Atlanta, GA. which is the home office of Region 4 of the U. S. Fisheries Division and the Norfork National Fish Hatchery.
Davy first visited the United States in the 1970’s and more frequent visits took place attending various fly fishing event through-out the country. He realized that there was to some extent a far greater opportunity given the resources in the United States in comparison to the U.K.; his visits too many of the trout streams in the west and here in Arkansas furthered his desire to move from his homeland in Wales to the United States which he did in the 1990’s.
In 2001, Davy came to a satisfactory agreement that WAPSI Fly Company of Mountain Home, AR. purchase the SLF Dubbing Company which they continue to produce.
Home now to Davy finds him near the pristine waters of the White River System which was first introduced to him by his longtime friend, Dave Whitlock.
Davy engaged now more than ever in the world of fly fishing as the Managing Director of the American International School of Fly Fishing.

Davy is a member of many national and international organizations that further issues of conservation and fly fishing education such as FFF, TU, APGAI, STANIC, NAC, AOGA, FWNR and NAFF.

(This Bio was Dictated from Davy Wotton to Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle, for publication.)

Davy’s Micro Caddis

Davy's Micro Caddis

Davy’s Micro Caddis

Many anglers are faced with at times a micro caddis hatch which the fish will key onto and they may not be so easy to catch at those time.
This is a pattern of mine l have used for many years, can be tied down to a size 20.
A simple tie, body a hair fur dubbing or synthetic, wing is folded back deer hair, l use comparadun hair as it is very fine and not as coarse as regular deer.

DW