Following on from my previous article regarding the 'Akroyd', the 'Glentana' is another from that same family of Dee Strip Wings, which were designed to be fished on the River Dee during the early part of the 19th century and is considered to be one of the oldest. The precise origins of this old Scottish fly are a little vague, but it appears that the actual inventor was a Mr. W. Garden, and that the inspiration for this fly came from an earlier, but less well known fly, the 'Gled Wing', conceived by a Mr. Brown.
Initially known as the 'Glentana Gled', the Glentana appears to have largely replaced the Gled Wing during the latter part of the 19th century, if only in its popularity. To me this 'new fly' appears to have succeeded the Gled Wing in name only, as both flies are of a 'very' similar pattern. In fact, if both flies were laid side by side, the Glentana and Gled Wing could very well be mistaken for being one of the same fly.
I certainly would have been hard pressed to identify them correctly before researching both flies. The main visible difference, apart from some minor material changes, is the smaller head on the Gled Wing, which according to Francis Francis, allowed the fly to glide through the water surface with less ripple. Both flies are elegantly long with a slender profile, a lengthy flowing black heron hackle, cinnamon turkey wings and a golden pheasant tail.
Early accounts suggest that the Glentana was originally produced with a teal throat, but as time progressed, this was changed to widgeon. Again, if we look at the earlier Gled Wing, the original pattern also calls for a Teal throat, so again a very minor change to the original fly, that somehow evolved into a new pattern.
Whatever the reasons for these enhancements, both flies caught well, but the Glentana in its later format, appears to have been more popular. Maybe these small tweaks to the Gled Wing over the years produced a better fly, but I cant help feeling sorry for poor old Mr. Brown and his original creation, that after all his initial creative work, his fly was eclipsed by Mr. Garden by the single action of making some simple tweaks and renaming it Glentana.
I have included the Gled Wing recipe from Francis Francis for comparison with George M. Kelson's recipe on the Glentana below.
'Glentana' recipe from from George M. Kelson.
Tag; Silver Twist
Tail; Red breast feather of golden pheasant
Body; One third light orange seals fur: and light claret seals fur
Ribs; Silver lace and silver tinsel
Hackle; Black heron, from orange fur
Wings; Two strips of plain cinnamon turkey showing light points
'Gled Wing' recipe from Francis Francis.
Tag; Silver Twist
Tail; Golden pheasant saddle
Body; One third light orange yellow two thirds claret or light purple mohair
Ribs; Broad silver tinsel
Hackle; Black heron of the largest size dressed down to the yellow mohair
Wings; Two strips of swallow tailed gled, or off red dun turkey of the same colour