"Quoting from Favorite Flies and Their Histories by Mary Orvis
Marbury, "The Royal Coachman was first made in 1878 by John
Hailey, a prefessional fly-dresser living in New York city. In writing of
other matters, he inclosed a sample of this fly for us to see, saying: "A
gentleman wanted me to tie some Coachman for him to take up into
the north woods, and to make them extra strong, so I have tied them
with a little bank of silk in the middle, to prevent the peacock bodies
from fraying out. I have also added a tail of the barred feathers of
wood-duck, and I think it makes a very handsome fly." A few
evenings later, a circle of us were together "disputing the fly question,"
one of the party claiming that numbers were "quite suitable to
designate the flies as so many nonsensical names." The others did not
agree with him, but he said: "What can you do? Here is a fly intended
to be a Coachman, yet it is not the true Coachman; is quite unlike it,
and what can you call it?" Mr. L.C. Orvis, brother of Mr. Charles
Orvis, who was present, said: "Oh, that is easy enough; call it the
Royal Coachman, it is so finely dressed!" And this name in time came
to be known and used by all who are familiar with the fly."
Credits: Quoted text from Favorite Flies and Their Histories,
by Mary Orvis Marbury, published by The Lyons Press. Color photo and dressing
from Forgotten Flies published by The Complete Sportsman.
Recipe for the Royal Coachman
As with so many of the 'old flies' more than one story about the origin
exists. Here's another:
Tail: Green, golden pheasant tippet (as shown, but not
the orginal - barred feathers of wood-duck,)
Body: Peacock herl with scarlet floss center.
The Royal Coachman was first tied in New York city by a
fly dresser named John Haily. The red floss body was developed
to strengthen an older pattern called the Coachman. This was done
because the teeth of the Brook Trout in Upstate Maine were
too hard on the Standard Coachman. It was labeled "Royal," as
it reminded people of the British Red Coats. This name
was suggested by Charles Orvis's brother. Charles Orvis
went on to found the famous fly fishing company that bears
his name. The fly
here is tied per the original John Haily pattern.