This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Fran Better’s Haystack.

Haystack TBT |

This is another fly I found while reading Mike Valla’s book entitled The Founding Flies – 43 American Masters, Their Patterns and Influences.

You might recognize this fly because it is very similar to the Sparkle Dun mayflies I tie and fish so much. But the Fran Better’s Haystack is the first of many iterations of this style of fly.

Betters created this fly during his senior year of high school in June 1949. He used Key deer for the wings and tail with a body or either muskrat or opossum dubbing.

Later, Betters used Woodchuck to replace the deer hair because he couldn’t find Key deer any longer. He must have had lots of Woodchuck because he used it in the tails of another fly he created, the Ausable Wulff.

The progression of the fly continued when Al Caucci developed the Comparadun mayfly in the early 1960’s as a variant to the classic Haystack fly pattern. Caucci joined with Bob Nastasi and introduced the fly in 1972 in their first book Comparahatch.

Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone created another variation, using Zelon for the tail and named it the Sparkle Dun.

To find out more about Fran Betters, I highly recommend Valla’s book.

Enjoy…go fish!

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