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 today's 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?

Lemon and Grey

Lemon and Grey
By Eric Austin, Ohio

There is a special section of Irish flies in T.E. Pryce-Tannatt's book How to Dress Salmon Flies, and this fly is contained therein. They are without pretence, there is no showing off here, and they are built for fishing. I've tried to dress this fly in that spirit, and put a low wing on it, and quite a simple one for me. Now I love a complicated wing, but this fly was a very satisfying one to do, and still demanding in its own way. I was able to really focus on some things with this one, not the least of which was the herl head, something that I've been trying to improve.

Pryce-Tannatt has this to say about his arbitrary classification of Irish Patterns:
Irish patterns are merely general patterns, possessing as a rule rather more wing and more variety of colour in the wing than those coming under the first group of this classification. They have a very common feature in the shape of Mallard strips partly veiling the mixed-wing underneath, and very few of them have the adornment of a topping over the wing. Though they are not as brilliant as the usual Scotch type of fly, they give an impression of greater warmth of colouring, a richer general effect, the bodies being very often varied and shaded in pleasing and harmonious schemes of colour. They seem to be peculiarly well suited to peaty waters, and, from the quantity of wing they possess--relatively speaking--it is safe to assume that they do not fish as deep as some other types of fly.

The thing I noticed about the bronze mallard strips he refers to is that they typically went the length of the fly, as I've done here. They are a topping in a sence, though not the typical golden pheasant crest. Pryce-Tannatt shows some Irish flies in the fly plates in his book.

Pryce-Tannat's book is available in its entirety on-line, and I highly recommend it as a good fundamental text on the topic. Keep in mind though that many of his dressings are "unusual" and at times quite overdone. Not so with the Irish flies however, and they would be a great starting point for anyone desirous of having a go at these rough and tumble flies. Here's the recipe for the Lemon and Grey:

Lemon and Grey

from T. E. Pryce Tannat's How to Dress Salmon Flies:
    Hook: 1 1/2 to 2 inches

    Tag: Silver thread and golden yellow floss

    Tail: A topping and Indian crow

    Butt: Black herl

    Body: Grey seals fur (or Grey Squirrel or Silver Monkey)

    Rib: Oval silver tinsel

    Hackle: A grizzed hackle

    Throat: A lemon hackle

    Wings: Mixed--tippet in strands; "married" strands of green, yellow, and orange Swan, Bustard, Florican, Golden Pheasant tail; "married: narrow strands of Teal and barred Summer Duck; brown Mallard strips over.

    Head: Black herl

Credits: How to Dress Salmon Flies by T. E. Pryce Tannat

~ EA

About Eric:

Eric Eric lives in Delaware, Ohio and fishes for brown trout in the Mad River, a beautiful spring creek. More of his flies are on display here:
traditionalflies.com -- Classic salmon and trout flies of Europe and the Americas.

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