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 . .
By Old Rupe
Archive of Old Flies
All of us who tie flies run up against the nasty concrete wall
called the lack of correct materials. We have become secretive.
We break federal laws that protect endangered species, and
when we travel we re-enter our homeland with animal parts
that the mere possession of which is worse than robbing the
local convenience store with a shot gun. We place ourselves
at terrible risk. We substitute when we can but we just can't
find the correct match for many materials. Polar Bear hair, Jungle
Cock eyes, condor quill, Indian Crow, Florican Bustard, eagle
feathers, Blue Heron herl; the list just goes on and on.
Every year another goody is added to the list of things we can't
even possess. I have a list of goodies that I would like to find.
Blue Heron feathers command respect even in the middle of a
fire fight in the inner city. Tell a fly fisher he can get Polar Bear
hair and Blue Heron herl after 10 p.m. on the lower west side
and drug dealers had better beware. They would soon understand
how life really was. I think the second clip would carry the day.
Never bet on herons and Polar Bears.
Polar Bear just never is uttered. It is called euphemisms such as
lite Yak hair and bleached Reindeer tail, and in response to what
Bustard really looked like last week I had to confess that I couldn't
really remember. I haven't actually seen any in 25 years or so.
Good hooks are just as bad. Some English hooks are as hard to
find as a college virgin. I had some outstanding offers out for a
particular brand that never even got a nibble. One of my adds
just said, "post your price." I had no takers.
Ox ear hair for the Pott's Sandy mite series came in at $300 a pound,
forty years ago. I tried to buy a pound from a paint brush manufacture
two years ago and never even got a reply. I said I would pay the
going rate what ever it was. This hair is bought from China and
requires special contacts. Paint brush people have the only access.
I can't get it. They sell all they can get at high dollars a paint brush.
I just do without even if I pay big dollars a pound. They need all the
pounds that are available just to stay in business. [Ed Note: How many
Pott's sandy mites can a guy tie from one paint brush?] No wonder
Foster Lager sells so well. If you own an ox guard his ears.
Don't try to acquire badger hair in three-inch lengths without first
contacting your banks loan officer. It seems that God can't even get
it except on rare occasions. I suspect a meteor has to kill one to
make that length of hair available. Pray for meteors.
Life can be ugly. The correct shade of floss can go for $30 a spool
if you can talk the seller into accepting a cashiers check. Really some
won't. I have had to fly in to get materials from some who just would
not accept anything but cash. Upper New England is especially bad
in this aspect. Maybe an earth quake will swallow them up. Father
Lochner keeps trying to convince me all will resolve. When pigs fly
I say. He doesn't tie flies so he really doesn't have a clue.
Good spade hackles are only available from
Spencer's Hackles, and then only if they like you. Knee pads and
a begging cup along with a Platinum Master Card seems to be a
requirement. Don't leave home without the card.
My best friend is a veterinarian and he knows every zoo keeper
within a thousand miles. Molted feathers just seem to fall into his
hands. I used to be able to get serious feathers but that has now
dried up. I think zoo keepers are now marketing molted stuff for
their retirement. I have seen ads that would support this view.
I use some difficult-to-find furs for my flies. Kinkajou has a nice
look but is becoming harder to find in the shades I want. These
are flies that others never see. I have two classes of flies. "Others"
flies and "my" flies. Others never see my flies.
I use a fine haired Central American mammal for my small stuff.
I get it sent to me every year or so. My wife and her relatives who
have lived there all their lives just can't tell me the name of the
animal. It seems to live in trees and eat fruit. Don't ask just tie.
PS - Geoffrey Bucknall hooks dry fly size 13 and 18
~ Old Rupe
-- post price!
[ HOME ]
[ Search ]
[ Contact FAOL ]
[ Media Kit ]
FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice