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 Sixty-seven

Ducks and Such

By Old Rupe


I've been laid up with health problems and haven't left the house for a month or so, except to see the doctor. This is not a big event at this time of the year, since the local still water has an inch or two of ice on It. If I could make it to the river, I know I would find few rising fish to tempt me into prospecting for those winter warriors. When it's so cold that my nose and feet would freeze and my fingers wouldn't tie on a new fly I can tell its time to fish further south. Those who enjoy fishing when the guides on the fly rod freeze shut are real strange. I suspect they socially interact with the characters in the new movie 'Scream 3.' Never invite them into your house for a drink. It would be like having the IRS prepare your tax return.

Winter is the time of the year when we prepare for the next season. It's also the time when we meet and commiserate with each other about the past season. A synopsis of last seasons failures that we can't seem to forget. The old hands never seem to discuss their successes, just their short-comings. Maybe fly fishermen are doomed to dwell on their failures. At one time, one of us must have angered a particularly nasty fishing god. How else can one explain all the effort we expend for so few results?

Police personnel, after a particularly ugly event, will get togther at the local law enforcement watering hole and try to shake some sanity back into their lives. When I was in the military after a real bad mission we would get together with those who survived at Madam K's and try to resolve our tensions. Beer 33 was cheap.

Each major town has a meeting place where prosecuting attorneys and defense personnel discuss the days bad events and make the deals for tomorrow. I suspect the Fly Anglers On Line Chat Room serves the same function, a cry about last seasons failures and a hope for the next seasons successes. A promise to meet in the spring and some hope for a better year. Youth is seldom involved in these discussions, as they never see a limit to their season.

I tie more flies than I will ever use or give away. It seems that they breed like mosquitos, mediocre flies in small boxes, destined to remain in my possession until my family gives them away after my demise in garage sales to bait fishermen. What else can I do with my winter?

This week my 97 year old mother, who fishes with me every other week all summer long, had some electrolyte problems and was admitted into a hospital seventy miles or so from here. I spent the week sitting with her, just trying to make a bad experience better. Bad feet, sick mother, out of town relative imposing on local family members, an unsightly week. Mother resolved. It may be some time before I do.

Black ducks

Each day at 8:15 AM I watched the local ducks and geese fly into the partially melted decorative hospital pond. The hospital room had a big window and I would drink my coffee and await their flight. My mother slept late and never saw them. The last 2-3 days I parked by the pond and watched the ducks and geese arrive. My day was made even before I saw my mother.

Some things tend to re-vitalize those who fish with the fly. The hope for an end to winter materializes with the first sight of those southern commuters. Migratory birds make my day. Today urban ducks and geese no longer migrate south. I still see spring when I observe ducks and geese flying past my window.

Fly on. Old rupe needs all the help he can get. Even if ducks and such are no longer the harbingers of spring as they once were, the sight of those wild beauties precludes a necessity for Prozac to make it through. I saw a Robin yesterday.

Some of us don't survive the long winter. Those who do should just be thankful.

Think of me when you tie on your first fly of the season. I will be there on the stream, in the spring, with you, if I can.

If I'm not on the stream with you when you see the ducks and such return from the south, always remember I wanted to be there. ~ Old Rupe

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