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 sixty-four

Paintbrush

Pass Something On

By John McBride


There is enough information out there to stagger the mind, and fill volumes of books if you know where to find it!

No, I'm not talking about sitting down in front of your computer to look a certain topic up. What I am describing may be the most untapped resource we have. The older generation!

Now before anyone takes offense, I will clarify that I am a 43-year-old "geezer" myself. What I'm referring to, are those around us who lived through the depression. You know the ones, "save that string, newspaper, rubber band, piece of wire, and all those grocery bags . . . you might need them some day!"

Most of those who were around during those hard times will tell you that .22 ammo brought a lot of food to the table as "mystery meat" dishes. Worms, night crawlers by flashlight, grubs, hickory nut worms, golden rod grubs, and crickets were the fishing bait of choice. (After the fun of gathering them of course.)

My family still eats an occasional rabbit, and squirrel, and we keep and eat bluegill that are six to seven inches and put the bigger ones back. Panfish flies/fishing techniques and all sorts of strange animal recipes have been handed down.

One day after I was discussing handed down fly patterns with an old friend. Then there was a massive search of an attic that led to old fly boxes with information tags on flies I have used for years but didn't know the origins of.

There were some flies we always called bluegill "fall" flies, and the only info I can find on them is that Peter Schwab, the fishing author, spent twenty years testing and designing streamer patterns through the U.S. and here are five of them, (represented in actual flies) and two patterns.

The flies here were tied by just using shaking fingers, trifocals, and a bobbin, by an aged gentleman who's memory sadly fades in and out more and more every day. He's a fellow that I used to work with, Glen Kriss. He is 82 and has Alzheimers pretty bad.

He has no family, and asked me to copy some of his special flies from his attic, (his entire collection of old flyboxes) so I could take him out pond fishing for bluegills when he is aware enough. For my trouble, he is showing me how to tie all the flies he still remembers. (I ran the scissors when and where I was directed while he tied them.)

If you get a chance to get together with anyone with more knowledge than you, it is always the best way to learn anything! (Be it a family member, co-worker, or even a neighbor who has the same interests.)

Not everyone has the ability to be a GOOD teacher, but by asking all the questions that come to mind, you can develop your own "style." Later, with practice it comes easier with your own way, with the same goal. But you have to get all this valued information passed down to you, before the person with the knowledge sadly passes on!

These flies are not the by any means the original patterns! (I don't even know what species they are for.) They are handed down adaptations for "panfish" using size #12 thin wire hooks.

Queen Bess

Queen Bess

Tail:   Red squirrel tail.

Body:  Silver solder (wire, or lead substitute).

Underwing:   Yellow bucktail.

Overwing:   Red squirrel tail.


Paintbrush

Paintbrush Tail:   Red feather tip.

Body:   Brass wire.

Rear wing:   Two red feather tips ties F-16 style.

Front underwing:   Yellow bucktail.

Front middle of wing:   White bucktail.

Front overwing:   Red squirrel tail.


Bass Hat

Brass Hat

Tail:  Yellow feather tip.

Body:   Gold oval tinsel.

Rear wing:   White bucktail.

Front underwing:   Yellow bucktail.

Front overwing:   Red squirrel.

Van Luven

Van Luven Tail:   Red squirrel.

Body:   Red chenille (wrapped over lead substitute wrapped hook shank).

Rib:   Silver tinsel.

Hackle:   Grizzly.

Wing:   Red squirrel.

Two other flies that I have yet to see tied by the older gent that I use are the Bobbie Dun - with a copper wire body and the Bellamy, another copper wire body.

Another fly I use has one variation, both are shown here.

Thor

Thor

Tail:   Orange feather fibers.

Body:   Red chenille, (Alaskan Thor uses a wine colored chenille).

Hackle:   Grizzly.

Wing:   White bucktail, (out past hookbend).

Alaskan Thor

Alaskan Version of the Thor

One other fly we all use in the fall is the Nympho, invented by Arthur Emery Low as a wet or dry fly.

Nympho

Nympho

Tail:   Orange yarn.

Hackle:   Palmered black.

Wing:   Pheasant tail.

Underbelly:   Orange yarn.

Tie in orange yarn at the tail and let hang while you palmer the feather over the hook, and then draw the yarn under the hook and tie in at the head creating an orange underbelly.

Try these flies for fall Bluegill fishing. I think you will be surprised what these classic variations will do! ~ John McBride

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