George M. Kelson
The Ray Mead, pattern by George M. Kelson George M. Kelson was born in the mid 1800s and grew up in under the tutelage of a father that was an avid salmon fisherman. His father, G. Kelson, was a doctor and was the inventor of many salmon flies such as the Black Dog, the Black Fancy, the Champion, and the Tipped Grub. Growing up under the influence of his father's love for salmon fishing it is little wonder Kelson's greatest love was fishing. In his earlier years Kelson was quite the athlete. He entered and won several casting tournaments and served as the angling editor of a periodical called "Land and Water".

In 1883 Kelson was one of the judges at the Great Exhibition at which a display of his on flies were being judged. In later years Kelson produced a series of cards on which were displayed many of the salmon flies he had designed. Some of the flies designed by Kelson were the Silver Ardea, the Ray Mead, and the Wye Grub, which is very similar to his fathers Tippet Grub. Kelson was not just a writer and tier he was also an inventor and designed the Farlow's "Patent Lever" reel which is comparable to many of the disc drag reels of today. The Tippet Grub, pattern by George M. Kelson

Kelson's book "The Salmon Fly", considered one of the greatest works on the subject of salmon fishing was re-published in 1995. Today, "The Salmon Fly" can be hard to come by and expensive to purchase if found. The book was not without its controversy as it rekindled some of the rivalry between Kelson and Marston, at the time the editor of the Fishing Gazette. Marston insisted that many of the patterns in the book claimed by Kelson were actually the work of other tiers and were not Kelson's. Marston also claimed that many patterns attributed to one tier were actually the design of another tier. In the end much of Kelson's reputation was tarnished but the book is still one of the great classics of the era.


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