Welcome to Just Old Flies

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 tiers imagination.

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 . . .

Part Seven

Al's Canal Snook Fly

By "Old Rupe"

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 snook fly.

Night Caught Snook

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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