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 . .
By Old Rupe
Archive of Old Flies
I have over the years listened to more fishing stories than most
magazines have ever published. These tales tended to fall into
One type is the beginner, obsessed with his few successes,
compelled to discuss each good catch as a means of adding to
his ego. Who can blame him for exaggerating his catch. That
catch was probably the high point of his career. Since the
event is unlikely to be repeated he is doomed forever to drag
that fish past all who will listen, year after year, until all the
scales are surely scraped off both sides. Boring all who listen.
A terror of every gathering. We have all been there. Those
that progressed on to really define the sport started there.
The rest just stayed there.
The second type is the gifted amateur. He has had so many
successes that all he remembers are his failures or short-comings.
These are his rare events. His tales are of the stupid errors he
made, his almost catches. Where the beginner dwells on his
successes the proficient fisher is obsessed with failure. That
is what he really remembers. The use of the leader that is too
long, the fly that he fished for an hour broken off at the bend,
the failure to understand that it was a masking hatch.
The pro's fell into a different sewer. They would espouse anything
that would serve their economic interests. I tended to shut them out
as politely as I could. While I realized that each of us has a living to
make, I always regretted anyone prostituting my sport for a dollar
I read Lyons, Gierach, Traver and I understand their special
torment. That unique viewpoint that forces them to dwell on
their failures. That viewpoint which forces us all to examine
our sport each according to his background and skill level.
In the evenings reflecting on my life as a fly fisher I remember
as I look into my drink the quotation from Bernard De Voto on
the subject: "The rat stops gnawing in the wood, the dungeon
walls withdraw, the weight is lifted. Your pulse steadies and
the sun has found your heart. The day was not bad, the season
has not been bad and there is sense and even promise in going
on. Prosit." ~ Old Rupe
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