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?
The F. G. Simpson
By Eric Austin, Ohio
Archive of Old Flies
The F. G. Simpson is another lake fly from Mary Orvis
Marbury's book Favorite Flies and Their Histories.
Its origin appears to have been Canadian, and I can imagine
large brook trout going crazy for this flashy fly with its
bright red and yellow color scheme. Here's what Mary Orvis
Marbury has to say about the fly's origins:
"This fly has been found especially effective for
fishing in Winnipeg. Mr. F. G. Simpson was the first to
introduce it to us, and recommend it to other anglers; we
therefore identify it by his name. "
The fly is similar in many ways to the more popular Professor
and Parmacheene Belle, flies which elsewhere in the Canadian
section of the book were regularly recommended. The F. G. Simpson
however was not mentioned by any of the Canadian fly fishermen
with whom Mary Orvis Marbury corresponded, leading one to think
that the fly might have been known to them by another name.
It certainly has all the appearances of being a very effective
lake fly, but has disappeared from the scene, along with many
of the brook trout for which it was undoubtedly designed. Here
is the recipe:
The F. G. Simpson
Credits: Favorite Flies and Their Histories
by Mary Orvis Marbury; Flies by J. Edson Leonard. ~ EA
I started fly fishing as a teen in and around my hometown
of Plattsburgh, New York, primarily on the Saranac River.
I started tying flies almost immediately and spent hours
with library books written by Ray Bergman, Art Lee, and
A. J. McClane. Almost from the beginning I liked tying
just as much as I liked fishing and spent considerable
time at the vise creating hideous monstrosities that
somehow caught fish anyway. Then one day I came upon a
group of flies that had been put out at a local drug store
that had been tied by Francis Betters of Wilmington, N.Y.
My life changed that day and so did my flies, dramatically.
Even though I never met Fran back then, I've always
considered him to be one of my biggest influences.
I had a career in music for twenty years or so and didn't
fish much, though I did fish at times. The band I was with
had its fifteen seconds of fame when we were asked to be in
John Mellencamp's movie "Falling From Grace." I am the
keyboard player on the right in the country club scene in
the middle of the movie. Don't blink. It's on HBO all the
time. We got to meet big Hollywood stars and record in John's
studio. It was a blast.
So how did I wind up contributing to the Just Old Flies
column on FAOL? I'm not sure, it was something that I simply
wanted very badly to do, and they let me. Many of the old flies
take me back to the Adirondacs and my youth, and I guess I get
to relive some of it through the column. I've spent many happy
hours fishing and tying over the years, and tying these flies
brings back memories of great days on the water, and intense
hours spent looking at the flies in the fly plates in the old
books and trying to get my flies to look like them. And now,
here I am, still doing that to this day. ~ EA
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