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 twenty-eight

Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and Lightning

Compiled By Deanna Birkholm

"The Thunder and Lightning was once known as the "Great Storm fly," deriving its name from the fact that in its early days it was universally used when the water was rising after a storm. At this time the appetite of the salmon or grilse is thought to be more keen, and with the proper fly success more probable. But of late other patterns have become more valued for this state of the water, and the Thunder and Lightning is considered best to raise fish in low clear water, or for autumn fishing.

"Mr. George Kelson writes: "it has been proven that the fly can also be advantageously used on other occasions than in clear water. Under trees in bright water, or in water that is slightly discolored, the fly certainly shows well, and therefore should kill well. I cannot call to mind any other standard pattern that is equally effectual, regardless of changeable weather, state of the water, either clear or dirty, or the humor of the fish. There is no river that I have ever visited where it has not succeeded at one time or another."

The recipe is: Thunder and Lightning (As tied by Mary Orvis Marbury)

    Tag:   Fine oval tinsel and yellow floss.

    Tail:  Golden pheasant crest.

    Butt:  Black ostrich herl.

    Body:  Black floss.

    Rib:  Embossed gold tinsel and orange hackle (palmered).

    Throat:  Eurasian jay.

    Wing:  Teal; bronze mallard over.

    Shoulder:  Jungle cock.

    Topping:  Golden pheasant crest.

    Horns:  Blue and gold macaw.

    Head:  Black ostrich herl.

Variation Thunder and Lightning
The recipe above is for the fly shown at the top - one of nine different variations I found for this fly. Another version is shown at the right.

Credits: quoted sections and information from Favorite Flies and Their Histories by Mary Orvis Marbury, re-published by Lyons Press. Color photo and recipe from Forgotten Flies. We appreciate use permission! ~ DLB

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