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Gray Ghost Gallery - pattern by Carrie Stevens

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Fly Details

Price: $2050 (necklace and pendant)

          $1450 (fly only)

          $575 (hook only)

Edition Size: Open

Release Date: 11/22/08

Overseas Shipping: No shipping outside the United States (Jungle Cock is listed in CITES Appendix II).


Hook:  Metal: 18K gold.  Length: 6.9 cm (2.7 in).  Gape: 0.90 cm (0.20 in).  Stamped on rear side with my signature, a script 'SD'.  Note:  Bare Stevens hooks are available for purchase.  See pricing above.

Necklace:  Metal: 14K gold.  Length: 16 in.  Diameter: 1.5 mm.  A bold, heavy chain as visually striking as the fly it supports.  The curves insinuate waves on the water.

Pattern Notes

Rear Profile

Carrie Stevens was truly a self-taught flytier, and as such she often referred to her flies' anatomical parts by the "wrong" names.  This tendency, coupled with the scantness of notes she kept on her patterns, has created some confusion as to the correct recipes for her patterns.  To further the confusion, she often tinkered with the details of her patterns and was at times restricted by outside influences (World War II, for example) from acquiring her preferred materials, creating variations within her patterns.  At the risk of perpetuating this confusion, I've decided to honor the Spartan charm of her pattern notes by recording in bold the recipe for the Gray Ghost as Carrie would likely have written it.  My personal notes are parenthetical.  Visit the Carrie Stevens Project History for additional notes.

Orange Hook (Carrie means by this that the hook is wrapped in orange floss.  I've used Hot Orange Pearsall's Marabou Silk, Carrie's preference, unwound prior to tying)

(Tinsel: 100% solid platinum, milled flat and polished in 8 steps.  Carrie usually made no mention of tinsel in her notes unless it covered the entire hook shank, assuming any tier would know to include silver tinsel unless otherwise specified.)

Long Yellow Crest - Peacock Herl - White Hair (The yellow crest is Golden Pheasant, tied on the top of the shank, the herl is tied beneath the crest on top of the hook (Carrie also sometimes put the herl on the bottom of the shank), and the white hair is Cashmere Goat (Carrie referred to it as Capra, the Latin name), her preferred but only sporadically available material, tied on the bottom of the shank.)

Wing: 4 Long Gray Streamers (Carrie used many different shades of hackle on this, her most famous fly.  I use a color which I believe is as close to her preferred color as is possible to ascertain today.)

Throat: White - Short Yellow Crest (White hackle fibers and Golden Pheasant crest.)

Shoulder: Silver Pheasant, Jungle Cock

Head: Black - Orange Band (Black and Hot Orange Pearsall's Gossamer Silk.)


Tying Notes

With the exception of using a solid gold hook and solid platinum tinsel, I tie the Gray Ghost as much as possible as Carrie would have.  I tie it in hand, without a vise.  The thread, floss, and tinsel are all wound the “wrong” way (what I call "counterwound").  The wings and shoulders are lacquered together at their bases prior to attaching them to the fly and then tied to the side of the hook shank.  I hope Carrie would appreciate the extent to which I've tried to honor both her materials and techniques to make each fly a special tribute to her.


But isn't that hook dangerous to wear?

Embossed Hookpoint and BarbThe point and barb of a hook make it look both beautiful and dangerous.  Remove or cover them, and the hook loses some of that sense of beauty and danger.  In attempting to maintain the natural beauty of the hook while simultaneously protecting its wearer from injury, I make one of three adjustments to the hooks on my wearable pieces, discussed here in order of least drastic to most drastic:

1)  Blunt the point and barb just enough that they still look sharp without actually being sharp.  For comparison, they would be about as sharp as the back of a woman's earring.  The wearer of a hook so minimally modified must take care, however, not to snag it on stray objects or clothing, because it could be difficult to extract without damaging either the hook or what it has hooked.  I would not recommend that such a hook be worn over loose-knit clothing.  It would, however, be comfortable to wear over bare skin.

2)  Emboss a faux barb into the hook (pictured at right in sterling silver).  This option is both visually pleasing and more practical to wear than a fully barbed hook.  While this seems like a simple modification, in fact it is not, and it is therefore accompanied by an additional labor charge.

3)  Omit the barb entirely.  This is the simplest adjustment but aesthetically the least pleasing (at least to me - others may see it differently). 


Have another favorite Carrie Stevens pattern?

The Colonel Bates?  The General MacArthur?  The Golden Witch?  I am eager to expand this project to include as many of Carrie's patterns as possible.  So I welcome any custom orders of other Stevens patterns.  If a fly you desire is not one currently offered on my site, you could own the first in the serially numbered edition of that fly.  For custom orders, please contact me at

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