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
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 twenty-six
Compiled By Deanna Birkholm
Archive of Old Flies
"The first Thunder Creek patterns were tied in the spring
of 1962 and tested in their northern Wisconsin namesake
river that same summer. I was seaching for a method of
tying a minnow fly that would produce an imitation more
lifelike in appearance and action than the conventional
bucktails and streamers that were in general use. I was
familiar with the old procedure of reversing bucktail on
a hook to make a small ball head on a fly, but the technique
had not been developed to accurately imitate a baitfish in
overall proportion or in coloring. Using this reversing
technique and two or sometimes three colors of bucktail,
I lengthened the head to about one fifth the length of the
entire fly, using brown hair for the back, white for the
belly, and dyed shades for the flank coloring, if needed.
Red tying thread provided a flash of gill coloring. After
the head was well coated with lacquer, a yellow base eye
with a black pupil was added in about the center of the head.
Over time modest changes have also been made in tying procedures.
I now tie the flies with white thread instead of red. This
allows them to be tied more sparsely because it eliminates
the necessity of using a heavy batch of white bucktail to cover
up the red thread wrappings in the throat area. Now if little
gaps appear between the strands of reversed white hair in the
head area, the white tying thread blends in and the fly looks
slim and neat. Gill coloring is added by putting a touch of
red lacquer on each side of the bottom part of the white thread
wrappings that hold the bucktail in the reversed position. In
addition, I now use light cream-colored lacquer instead of yellow
for the base eye. This is more in keeping with the true eye
color of most baitfish...
All of the Thunder Creek patterns can be tied in marabou by
substituting that material in the proper colors for the
bucktail initially called for. In weighting a fly, I like to
add the weight only to the forward part of the hook shank,
primarily under the head. This keep the fly from riding
upside down due to the added weight upsetting the natural
hook balance and give the fly a little diving action as you
swim it across the water in a series of darting motions.
A 4X to 6X long straight eye hook is the best one to use
because the straight eye acts as an extension of the head
and the retrieve is not influenced by an up- or down-turned
hook eye. In addition, the procedure of reversing the
bucktail to shape the head and body of the fly is much
easier to accomplish on a straight eye hook than on an
up or down eye. Partridge of Redditch makes a beautiful
Thunder Creek hook and I highly recommend it.
I do have a favorite out of the twenty-one Thunder Creek
patterns and it's the Emerald Shiner. It not only
imitates that species of baitfish but duplicated the broad
range of forage fish that have dark back, whitish underparts,
and bright iridescent flanks. ~ Keith Fulsher."
The pattern is: Emerald Shiner (Notropis atherinoides)
Credits: Photo, quoted sections and information from Streamer
FlyTying & Fishing by Joseph D. Bates, Jr., published
by Stackpole Books.
Hook Shank Covering: Pearl mylar tubing.
Lateral Coloring: None.
Top of Head and Back: Brown part of green dyed bucktail.
Bottom of Head and Belly: White bucktail.
Eye: Cream lacquer with black pupil.
Note: The back and belly hair is tied on with the tips
pointed forward over the hook eye, then reversed to shape
the head and body of the fly. White thread should be used,
and gill coloring added by placing a touch of red lacquer
on each side of the bottom part of the thread collar.
Heads are all coated with a thin coat of epoxy and allowed
to dry before the eyes and gills are added.
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