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 . .

Part Fourty-six


By Old Rupe

I have over the years listened to more fishing stories than most magazines have ever published. These tales tended to fall into three types.

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 or two.

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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