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Thread: WHAT'S OBSOLETE? - Neil - February 7, 2011

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Bothell, WA, USA
    Blog Entries

    Default WHAT'S OBSOLETE? - Neil - February 7, 2011


    Recently I have been reviewing the writings in some of the classic angling literature, and if you have been following those articles you will notice a common thread emerging. While there are obvious differences between the types of equipment that they used ? rodss were longer, slower and heavier, lines were made of silk and leaders from silk worm gut, and reels were made from brass or hard rubber ? the equipment that they used is still serviceable today.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Yelm, WA USA



    I'm thinking I'm obsolete, no....not obese, obsolete. They had a war and didn't invite me to go along. After 23 1/2 years in the service of my country, I think they should have at least asked if I wanted to go.

    As far as fly fishing goes, a lot of the flies I tie and use on a regular basis are over 100 years old, many much older than that. They work just as well now as they did way back when and have outdone more modern flies many times over.

    Silk lines? I'd love to put a nice DT Silk line on one of my bamboo rods. Unfortunately, the initial outlay of cash prevents it at the moment. Fish in the morning, have a nice lunch and dry your line, apply some mucellin or other line dressing and then fish the evening rise, what could be better.

    I think the reason so much is considered obsolete is our penchant for the newest, fastest, lightest, bestest thingamajig there is. It's gotta be better than the older thingamajig or there wouldn't be a new one.

    Happiness is wading boots that never have a chance to dry out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    White Bear Lake MN

    Default Obsolete, is not Oblivion....

    Obsolete is not oblivion, it just that everybody has moved onto the something else that is "New & Improved" (there is a special place in "Hell" for the person(s) who came up with that phrase)!

    Ron talks about old fly patterns and old split cane rods, and wishing to have the money to use silk line on them.

    Neil mentioned Frederic M. Halfords in his article....

    I recently been attempting with tons of research time resurrect the "Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear -Dry Fly" from "Perdition"!

    The #1 dry fly for most fly anglers is the "ADAMS" which does not match any species of May Fly or Caddisfly. Some reports was that the "Adams" was meant for the Caddisfly hatch.

    Well in 1885 the "Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear" was a dry fly, and it was the "Adams" of that period, and because it was effective for all May Fly hatches, that the purists and snobs of those days, on their private waters, and all their made up rules of conduct, and conditions of how and when to cast upstream to only trouts rising to the hatch on the water; that the "Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear" was banned from their waters, and anyone using it was banned too!

    Even in 1885 the "Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear" was a old dry fly pattern, and then it disappeared, only many years later to be replaced by the "Adams".

    "If you don't use it, you lose it!"

    I hope to be sending my final drafts on the "Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear" to the publisher as both a "Reader's Cast" and a "Fly Of The Week" article.

    I hope after the two articles are published, that what was lost but now is found, will never be lost again! ~Parnelli

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Southeast Pennsylvania


    I used to patronize a shop staffed by guys in their late 20's/very early 30's. One day I told them I needed some peacock sword to tie Zug Bugs. They laughed, and said that fly was "old school". I asked if anyone had bothered to tell that to the fish, because Zug Bugs work for me. These guys felt everything not "invented" yesterday was old school, so I stopped going there. I still use soft hackles (the plain simple type), older streamer patterns, and even bamboo(!). I've stopped using indicators entirely, unless you count a hopper/dropper as an indicator rig. I'm coming up on 50, and don't believe that trout pass down fly knowledge to their fry, and if it caught fish 30 years ago, it'll catch fish today. Trout certainly don't seem to have grown weary of biting on a Mepps spinner! I do like some of the new patterns used today, and using a new technique is fun. You might even find out that it's not entirely new.

  5. Default

    Hi Neil

    I love this column and I love those old patterns. I often spend hour looking through books on old forgotten patterns. When I find ones that i think will work for my applications I try them out and continue to us the ones that perform well. One of my greatest joys is watching the faces on the guys, who are always chasing the flavor of the month, when I tell them what I am using.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Littleton, Colorado
    Blog Entries


    I remember vividly the day I caught my first fish on a fly. I was actually teaching fly tying to Scouts. Yes, I could tie. Couldn't catch fish, but I could tie. I had been flogging the water with a fly rod for about 2 years at that point. I tied a nymph that looked like a bug on the bottom of a rock and not of any particular pattern. Less than 5 minutes later, I had my first fish. They drug me kicking and screaming back in to finish helping the boys tie some flies and we then went to dinner. Looking out the window of the lodge, I saw a nice hatch coming off and the fish were going nuts! I tied on a Royal Coachman dry and proceeded to catch another 5 or 6 fish while everyone else was whining about not catching anything. The next day, the fish didn't like my nymph but they were going nuts over a Leadwing Coachman that I was fishing just subsurface.

    Nope, the old flies are not obsolete. I have better luck with those than almost any of the newer flies. And besides that, the darn things are pretty and fun to tie!

    Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Liberty Lake, Washington


    In your article, you mentioned a book called "Forgotten Flies." The link you provided to Deanna's article from May of 2000 shows that book in hardcover offered at $110. You might be interested to know that Barnes & Noble now offers a used copy of the same book for $1090.
    Where you go is less important than how you take the steps.
    Fish with a Friend,
    Lotech Joe

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