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 . .
Why I'm Maudlin
By Old Rupe
Archive of Old Flies
I got a nice letter the other day from a fellow named Gordon saying he liked the articles I wrote
even when they were maudlin. Webster defines Maudlin as
'effusively or tearfully sentimental,' an alteration of Mary
Magdalene who was frequently depicted as a tearful penitent.
I guess I am. Let's look at why.
I can remember the times on my home stream that I fished for
four years every night from 5 p.m. until dark when my friend
and I never saw another fly fisher. Boy has that changed, and
most of the ones with manners seem to have stayed home. I no
longer fish a local lake after observing jet boat passengers and
drivers openly doing dope on the lake. My boat only goes 50
mph or so and I can't out run them. I've been known to drink
a Fosters or two but not when I'm operating a high performance
boat. Each year they have serious crashes on the lake. There
always seems to be boat Styrofoam littering the shore line. Not
a good thing.
I see fewer gentlemen on the stream every year. The new inductees
into the sport seem to have missed the classes their mothers taught
on acceptable personal behavior. Getting the fish isn't everything.
A fisher must fit into the system, or the system dies. Leon C. when
you're gone I may quit fishing. Some day I hope my son gets to meet
It seems everyone is trying to make money from the sport.
I remember vividly the question that was put to a guest lecturer
about how to tie his squirrel hair nymph, and the answer to the
effect that he didn't answer questions like that for free. I understood
the game after that. I didn't ask the question, but I was hurt just the
same hearing the answer. There is no real system in place to help
the person who wants to learn the sport. (Other than right here on
Fly Anglers OnLine.) All there is out there seems to be rude guides
who carry a cash register on their back. Nymph fishing with an
indicator, '$$$$$$,' long leader dry fly, "your Master Card please."
The environment we fish in seems to go down hill more each
year. The people who use the resource seem unwilling to assure
that it's there for the future. Even for their future. Marriage
isn't the only thing that seems to suffer a lack of commitment
in these times.
There was a time when craftsmen that loved the sport made things
just because they could. They were things of beauty, there was no
corporate bottom line. There was pride of workmanship and none
expected to make a million dollars. A fine thing for a fair price.
Look at Ron K's bamboo rods, and Stan's fine reels. Corporate
production lost something in the transition. I think Gatti rods fall
into the fine thing category, along with Russ Peak rods and the
occasional Payne rod, when its available. Fine things always
come to the top. Some day before I die I hope to own and fish
one of Ron K's rods. A 4 wt. I think. The problem is that today
people don't appreciate the really good things out there. Ron, if
they ever do you're going to have to live to be a thousand to satisfy
There seems to be a yuppie influence in fly fishing. When I pull
in to fish my local stream few cars under $30,000 seem to park
there. It shouldn't be that way. My chevy pick up is lonesome.
I remember a State Patrolman who stopped and ask me how I
was doing. He said he owned 6 flies. I regret I never gave
him a hundred or so, as I had 3-4 thousand with me in the truck
at the time. I just didn't think. I have many good flies I'll
So Gordon, you have an invitation to come east during my vacation
and I'll show you how it used to be. Two fly fishers exploring the
sport, such as it is. Maybe then you will understand my view on fly
fishing. I'm decrepit and old but I know the sport. It will be a
great two weeks. Twenty years from now you will cry too. ~
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