I have heard on more than one occasion, one of John's colleagues refer to him with phrases like "genius", "pioneer", and "ahead of his time". I have come to believe that this is because John viewed his chosen field of cosmetic surgery as much of an art as it is a science.
John was one of the most creative individuals I have ever met. He was not only a lifelong, expert photographer in mjultiple disciplines, but also dabbled in metal sculpture, woodworking, and painting as well. Later in life, he became enamored with flower arranging. So much so that he plowed up a quarter of an acre on his farm in East Texas to plant flowers from seed to further personalize his arrangements. So, it is no surprise that fly tying was much more to John than just lashing dead animal parts to a hook to attract something. No...he viewed the hook as a pallet on which to experiment with feathers and fur, both familiar and exotic, often times going as far as custom-dying his materials for a specific effect.
One of the recurring themes you'll see in Bubba's Keys Style Tarpon flies is the use of Krystal Flash to form the head instead of thread. I asked him about that one time, and he kind of grinned. After detailing his process for building up the head with KF, he said emphaically that the secret to REALLY making it pop was to use guide wrap epoxy as it had a much higher depth of image than anything else. Being in the guide wrap finish business, I can indeed confirm his statement to be true!
This week, we have another pattern in the Doctor John subset, The Doctor John 2. I have included the tying recipe from John's personal files for anyone interested in gving this one a go. Like many keys style flies, this one should be a killer on many other species when tied on hooks apropriate for the task.
Hope you all are having a great week!