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-twentythree

H and L Variant

H and L Variant

Compiled and Tied By Thomas C. Duncan, Sr.
Photo by James Birkholm


The variant is a style rather than a pattern, and according to Fly Patterns and Their Origins, any standard pattern can be tied as a variant. The variant is defined as "more lightly and with longer but less hackle and called them 'long-hackled, sparsely dressed flies'."

While the photo shown here is about one and a half 'normal' hackle length, most variants were tied with twice the normal hackle length.

This long hackle design is credited to Dr. Wm Baigent of Yorkshire, England, in 1875. Reputed to be one of England's most successful anglers, is credited with eleven patterns. They were all dressed with "natural Old english game cock feathers" with long hackles, giving them buoyancy and high riding qualities, in which position he claimed the rays of light played upon the iridescent fibres and made them attractive to fish by "life and form." The eleven patterns included four spinners, four variants, light, dark red and rusty, and a black, a brown and an olive.

As a further development he registered a set of twelve patterns as "Refracta Dry Flies." The hackles were separated; short for pattern as legs, and long, for floating qualities, to disturb the water and produce an altered refraction.

The pattern is:
    Hook:   Dry Fly hook.

    Tails:  Calf tail or body hair.

    Body:  Stripped peacock herl quill followed by thick herl.

    Hackle:  Brown.

    Wing:  Calf tail or body hair.
    ~ Thomas C. Duncan, Sr.

Archive of Old Flies


[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice