Welcome to Just Old Flies

Welcome to 'just old flies,' a section of methods and flies that used-to-be. These flies were tied with the only materials available. Long before the advent of 'modern' tying materials, they were created and improved upon at a far slower pace than todays modern counterparts; limited by materials available and the tiers imagination.

Once long gone, there existed a 'fraternity' of anglers who felt an obligation to use only the 'standard' patterns of the day. We hope to bring a bit of nostalgia to these pages and to you. And sometimes what you find here will not always be about fishing. Perhaps you will enjoy them. Perhaps you will fish the flies. Perhaps . . .


Part One hundred-eight

Colonel Fuller

Colonel Fuller

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm


"Created by tackleman John Shields of Brookline, Massachusetts, about 1894, this red and yellow fly, originally tied for bass fishing, bearing a grandfather resemblance to the Mickey Finn, was named after Charles E. Fuller, Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts.

John Shields, born in 1832 in County Monahan, Ireland, established his tackle business at Brookline in 1865. On his death in 1900 the business was continued, until 1933, by his son, John W. Shields, 1862-1939, born in Dublin, Ireland."

The original pattern was described:
    Tail:  Black.

    Body:   Gold tinsel.

    Rib:   Gold.

    Head:   Peacock herl.

    Wing:   Bright yellow with an outer wing or shoulder of scarlet.

"The Colonel used it with great success at his favorite fishing locale on the Belgrade Lakes in Maine.

Colonel Charles E. Fuller of Boston was born in 1831. He came from an old Revolutionary family and a long line of soldiers and ministers, being a descendant of Thomas Fuller, author of Fuller's Worthies. It was his grandfather who preached to the Continental troops under the elm at Cambridge before they marched to Bunker Hill.

During the Civil War, Colonel Fuller served on the staffs of Generals Hunter, Gillmore, Butler and Sherman, and at the close of the war he was the chief quartermaster of the Army of the James under General Grant. He retired in 1864 because of disability and later became a well-known Boston banker and a member of the Boston and New York stock exchanges. All his life he was a great lover of outdoor sports and was known as the Father of the New England Skating Association. Colonel Fuller died October 3, 1907."

Quoted section from Fly Patterns and Their Origins, published by Westshore Publications, Color photo and tying recipe from Forgotten Flies. We appreciate use permission!

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