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?

Jacques P. Herter Method of Making Dry Flies

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

This famous method of making dry flies was invented by Jacques P. Herter. Fluttering wing wet bass flies were made before this with the wings at the rear of the hook but never dry flies. This method consists of making the head of the dry fly at the rear or the bend of the hook rather than at the front of the hook. Thus your hackle is at the rear or the bend of the hook instead of the front. This does several very important things. First, it makes your dry fly float much higher than if you put the hackle at the front of the fly as it supports the hook at the heaviest part of the hook, the bend, and keeps the bend of the hook from sinking into the water and getting a weight leverage that sinks your fly or puts it in a very unnatural cocked upward position which is not at all good. Secondly with the Jacques P. Herter method the hackle covers the bend of the hook making the fly appear much more natural to the fish.

When Jacques first developed these new dry flies I did not use them for quite some time. I was very much used to dry fly fishing with dry flies with the hackle on the front of the flies and I had to be shown definitely that Jacques' were better before I would switch to them. After about two weeks of dry fly fishing with Jacques and having him badly beat me every day I decided to switch to his dry flies. I have never used anything else since in this type of dry fly as they are much easier to fish and produce many more fish. ~ George Leonard Herter (1961)

Credits: from Fly Tying, Spinning and Tackle Making by George Leonard Herter.

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