Welcome to 'just old flies,' a section of 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
Most books, and yes, even we here, bring 'new and
improved' designs; however, in days long gone, fish
readily accepted these creations; 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. Perhaps you will enjoy them. Perhaps you
will fish them. Perhaps . . .
Al's Canal Snook Fly
By "Old Rupe"
Archive of Old Flies
Al was a fly-fishing fanatic pure and simple. He was a fish
till you drop, wear out a pair of waders or so a year type of
fanatic fly-fisher. I should know as I taught him the game. The
thing I forgot to teach him was moderation. He was a
seven-day-a-week fisherman. The rumor was that one year
he wore out a 444 line, but that was just a rumor Leon. If anyone
could wear one out it would be Al.
Al's wife complained about his fishing and a year later he
was fishing in Florida on the flats, single again. He was
fascinated with those big canal snook. He would call me
late at night and tell me about them, almost drooling as he
described fish so large that locals wouldn't let their kids
swim in the canals after six. Night monsters that few ever
saw. He was convinced that the right fly would open the
door to all those under-fished canals. He just wouldn't let
up. Since he didn't tie I was elected to do the perfect night
The fly was a 6-8 inch coon tail with two big trebles, for
and aft. Trebles that mission impossible would have loved
to use as grappling hooks. An ugly fly, as ugly as a "fat girl
on a Harley." Not a fly anyone would claim to originate, or
use. I sure made them and he wore out 3 a month fishing
them seven nights a week in Ft. Meyers.
Late night dog walkers and small pick-up owners must have
had fear in their hearts as they watched a fly the size of a
small dog whizz by. A coon tail fished on a 12 or 14 weight
rod. Gators and gars loved it but not a single snook would
look at it. Al fished it seven nights a week for three months,
four to five hours a night. He just wouldn't give up. A
transplanted northerner doomed to forever haunt the canals
at night in search of a snook big enough to stick a soccer
ball in its mouth.
I hear he even became some what of a local legend. Anyone
that fished the canals seven nights a week with a fly like that
would be known to other fanatics. Words like driven, different,
fanatical, serious, drifted back to me from other Florida fly
fishers. Al was a fly fisher with a completely different view-point.
Now he ties his flies, and still fishes his canals and his intensity
hasn't been altered a bit over time. I've lost track of him over the
years but I know that he never gave up on the big snook and that fly.
When you see a thin six foot fly fisherman with a far-a-way look
in his eye fishing a fly bigger than anyone else at night on the
Ft. Meyer canals say hi to Al.~"Old Rupe"
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