The Childers
The Childers Around 1850 Colonel Childers tied the first fly that today bears his namesake, the Childers. Colonel Childers tied the Childers with or without a topping depending on the availability of the golden pheasant crest at the time but the original version called for a topping like most of the other contemporary flies of the day. It is believed that the original pattern is the one agreed to by J.J. Hardy, J.H. Hale and written about by George M. Kelson. Francis Francis describes a considerably different pattern for the Childers in his writings. The original version of the Childers follows.


Tag:    Silver twist and light blue silk.
Tail:    A topping, strands of red and powder blue macaw, and pintail on top.
Butt:    Black ostrich herl.
Body:    Two turns of light yellow silk followed by light yellow seal's fur and three turns of scarlet seal's fur at the throat.
Ribs:    Silver lace and silver oval tinsel.
Hackle:    White furnace hackle dyed light yellow.
Throat:    Scarlet hackle and widgeon.
Wing:    Strands of tippet and tail of golden pheasant: brown mottled turkey, Amherst pheasant, pintail, bustard, summer duck (wood duck), green parrot, powder blue and red macaw, gallina (guinea fowl), mallard roof and a topping.
Horns:    Blue macaw.
Cheeks:    Chatterer.
Head:    Black ostrich herl.

Francis Francis version is tied with a tag of gold twist and gold floss and a tail of a topping with teal and tippet strands on top. The body consists of yellow, orange, and dark red pig's wool ribbed with broad gold tinsel. Francis uses two hackles. The first is a dark red claret hackle wound to the area of the shoulder followed with a light blue hackle on the shoulder. Francis wing consists of a large clump of white tipped dark turkey tail and strips of bustard with golden pheasant over it. Next he tied in mixed slices of blue, pale red, orange, and yellow dyed swan and he finished his version with just a thread head of black.

Francis Francis version of the Childers follows.

Tag:    Gold twist and gold floss.
Tail:    A topping, strands of teal and tippet on top.
Butt:    Black ostrich herl.
Body:    In equal sections; yellow, orange, and dark red pig's wool.
Ribs:    Broad gold tinsel.
Hackle:    Two hackles. The first is a dark red claret hackle wound to the area of the shoulder. The second is a light blue hackle on the shoulder.
Throat:    Scarlet hackle and widgeon.
Wing:    A large clump of white tipped dark turkey tail, strips of bustard and golden pheasant over. Next mixed slices of blue, pale red, orange, and yellow dyed swan with a topping over all.
Horns:    Blue macaw.
Cheeks:    Chatterer.
Head:    Black.

Dr. Pryce-Tannatt's version of the Childers has very little in common with the original version. Dr. Pryce-Tannatt version of the Childers follows.

Tag:    Silver thread and blue floss.
Tail:    A topping and indian crow.
Butt:    Black ostrich herl.
Body:    Equal sections of the following; golden yellow floss, orange and fiery brown seal's fur.
Ribs:    Silver tinsel and silver twist.
Hackle:    Badger hackle dyed lemon yellow.
Throat:    Golden pheasant breast feather followed by widgeon.
Wing:    A pair of golden pheasant breast feathers back to back. Married strands of scarlet, blue, orange, and yellow swan. Bustard, florican, golden pheasant tail, cinnamon and mottled gray turkey tail with a topping over all.
Sides:    Barred summer duck (wood Duck).
Horns:    Blue macaw.
Cheeks:    Blue chatterer.
Head:    Black.

Sir Herbert Maxwell had still another version of the Childers he tied and fished with. Although it was not one of his favorite flies he did admit that over the years the Childers did manage to catch thousands of salmon. The only difference in Sir Herbert's version of the Childers from that of the original version described by Kelson is in the structure of the wing. Sir Herbert's wing is the same wing as described by Kelson for the Jock Scott which consists of the following. Two sections of black white tipped turkey, golden pheasant tail, bustard, gray mallard, peacock herl sword tips, blue and yellow swan, red macaw with a mallard roof and a topping over all.

The Childers is a popular fly today and tied by many. If you get the chance drop on over to Wolfgang von Malottke's web site at www.classicflies.net and check out the many Childers tied by different tiers displayed on his site. Just click on the Gallery link on the left and view different versions of the Childers tied by such tiers as Sven-Olov Hård and Mikael Granath of Sweden, Bill Spicer of Canada and Michael D. Johnson one of The Classics Showcase tiers. You might be impressed at how one fly can have so many different looks, but they all look great.

As you can see even the masters of old tied flies with the same name in many different ways and who are we to say which way is best. They all can be called Classics in their own right.


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