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?
Piscatorial Past-Times From Over the Pond
By Steve Sheppard, UK
The Bishop's Reel
Archive of Old Flies
My interest in angling began when I was a youngster.
My father took me to a local soccer match between two
local teams which left me scarred for life and desperately
seeking a worthwhile pastime.
I found it in angling and over the years I have developed
a keen interest in anglings rich and varied history.
Along the way in my quest for more knowledge of our noble
sport I have come across many oddball rumours and tales
past down in folklore.
Take the Bishops reel; (shown at the left with the 'priest'
on top,) centuries ago in merry old England monasteries were
dotted around the countryside, mostly opulent buildings set
in their own grounds granted by royalty or some rich nobleman
intent on saving his soul.
These establishments were self-sufficient, growing and
farming their own food and were benevolent to the local
community. Many had their own trout lake.
Bishops and their entourage would visit the various monasteries
in their domain at regular intervals to participate in and
promote the rituals and practices of the church and there
were many ceremonies to be indulged.
At noon each day the trout would be fed by the monks, as
they were for use on special occasions. A local craftsman
would have been employed to build a reel ornate enough to
please and be in keeping with the bishop's status.
Most English anglers at this time favoured the free running
Nottingham centre pin reel. These individual reels introduced
innovation and design, which has helped tackle to evolve into
what we know today.
Just before noon a novice monk selected for his devotion
would attach the bishop's reel to the rod, in this case
a twin line close face drum, so that the bishop could
catch a fish for his guest as well.
At noon as the feed was thrown in, the novice handed the
rod to the bishop who ceremoniously lowered the bait to
the water where the trout in their feeding frenzy impaled
The bishop then handed the rod back to the novice who
reeled in the fish detached them from the hooks and
presented them to the bishop who with dignity and grace
despatched them with the priest.
That evening, dinner would be served and the bishop content
in his mind at the honest labour he had performed to earn
his meal, would regale his guest with fishy tales of the
fight he had endured with the beast to provide him with
such a sumptuous repast.
The novice monk? He returned to his cell with a bowl of
gruel and the job of untangling the lines and cleaning
the tackle whilst dreaming of what he would do when he
made bishop. ~
Steve Sheppard, UK
[ HOME ]
[ Search ]
[ Contact FAOL ]
[ Media Kit ]
FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice