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?
Compiled by Deanna Birkholm
Tie shown is Ray Bergmans
Archive of Old Flies
This delicate looking fly, sometimes with the
title "General" prefixing the name, with gray
ruffed grouse wings, tan or light brown hackle
and yellow body with a light green spiral wind,
was name after General Joseph Hooker, 1814-79,
of Civil War fame. He was a graduate of West
Point in 1837. An equestrian statue stands in
his honor on Beacon Hill, Boston.
The fly was the creation of the first professional
woman fly-tier in this country, Sara J. McBride
whose flies were in great demand in the 1870's
and 80's. She was the daughter of John McBride
who was an early fly tier of good repute. A
resident of Munford in Monroe Country in New
York State, she was awarded a medal and diploma
at the Philadelphia Centennial for her flies "for
exceedingly neat work with solidity of construction."
She was, as her writings of 1876 indicate, a student
of, and an authority on, entomology. She tied "American
fly and insect imitations" and recommended special patterns for
In 1876 she went to England and Scotland and
studied the English methods of tying.
On her return in 1878 she moved to New York
and set up her shop at 889 Broadway, but
Soon closed and went back to Munford, where
she continued until 1879.
She recommended the Hooker fly for use in June.
Ray Bergman gives the recipe for this fly as
Body: Yellow floss.
Credits: from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by
Harold Hinsdill Smedley 1942. Photo from Forgotten
Flies published by the Complete Sportsman.
Rib: Green silk.
Wing: Dark slate.
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