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 fifty-six

Silver Garland Marabou Streamer

Silver Garland Marabou Streamer

Compiled By Deanna Birkholm


"This unusual type of dressing was originated by Mr. E.H. (Polly) Rosborough, of Chiloquin, Oregon in 1936. The Silver Garland is one of the most famous and most productive of all marabou streamers due principally to the unusual construction of the body. The body is fairly fat and heavy, dressed with tinsel (over a weighted body if desired) which is formed into a chenille-like fringe similar to Christmas tree tinsel. . .[described below]. This provides a brushlike metal body which should be lacquered to keep it bright. The value of the body is due largely to the added flash of reflected light which this type of tinsel provides. This makes the fly especially productive in high or discolored waters."

Polly Rosborough was a leading professional tier in the Northwest, who we had the pleasure of meeting at a Federation of Fly Fishers Conclave in West Yellowstone in 1972. Even then you could sit across from a famous tier and watch - and ask questions. Polly was also the author of Tying and Fishing the Fuzzy Nymphs in 1965. Some of the other flies he was known for are the Muskrat nymph, Nondescript, Green Damsel, Dark Stone, Casual Dress, Fledermouse and Near Enough. He loved using marabou and may have been the first of the west coast tiers to do so.

"His Silver Garland Marabou in its many color combinations, is a famous fly for big fish in both fresh and salt water, from coast to coast. . .For instructions on how to do it Mr. Rosborough referred me to a short article written by Mr. A.J. McClane, Fishing Editor of Field and Stream magazine, which is as follows:"

"In regard to wrapping the Garland body, tie in at least one-fourth inch of the body material with heavy nylon working thread and have a good thread base under it, well lacquered and dried. Otherwise the body material will skid around the shank of the hook. It is best to use a core of long fibered Scotch wool, well saturated with lacquer, under the tinsel. The wire core of the tinsel sinks into the wool somewhat, eliminating any possibility of skidding later. Fold it back as you go and you will end up with a body better tapered than if you shear it afterward."

It should be noted that Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing written in 1950 and quoted above, lists this fly as a Matuku Type Streamer. Besides the colors shown, the fly was also tied in white/greenish-blue/yellow, as well as yellow/royal blue/white and black. And for all saltwater fish which eat herring and smelt in white marabou with royal blue over Silver Doctor blue.

Silver Garland Marabou Streamer

    Head: Black (Large black optic heads with white eyes and red, black or orange pupils often are used.

    Body: Silver Christmas tree tinsel.

    Wing: Hot orange marabou wing with black ostrich herl topping (or for Steelhead - Hot orange marabou wing with black over white ostrich herl topping).

~ DLB

Credits: From Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing, by Joseph D. Bates, Jr. Published by Stackpole Books.

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