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 Eighty-eight

Cabin Coachman

Tied and photographed by James G. Birkholm

Cabin Coachman

By LadyFisher


This one is by request from one of our Michigan readers.

"A coachman with the usual peacock herl body but with a red tail, hackle of Barred Rock and Phode Island Red and with Andalusian wings tied spent, was tied first at "The Cabin" of George Mason, president of Nash Motors, on the South Branch of the AuSable (Michigan) River. About 1934, Mason and John Stephan conceived the idea of changing, in some respects, the Coachman fly which Mason used at that time, an all brown hackle with a red tip. First they tied a few with a mixed or Adams hackle. This proved to be successful and so they proceeded to find a name for it. Because of the place of its origin, it was called the Cabin Coachman. The first flies were tied by John Stephan.

Since that time another development has taken place, which is called the "Lady Cabin", and which is, in reality, the Cabin Coachman with the yellow egg sack similar to that on the Mrs. Adams or the Lady Beaverkill. According to Bill Lerchen of Detroit, this fly has proved successful and can take the place of either a Mrs. Adams or Lady Beaverkill.

top view

He states:

"As far as I am concerned, if I were to have only one fly with which to fish the main stream, particularly in the latter part of the day or the evening, I would choose a Cabin Coachman. It floats well, is easily followed in the early evening light and while it resembles no real fly that I know of, it seems to have something which the big brown boys like."

The extensive property which belonged to the Mason family is now known as the Mason Tract, a large public access (Catch and Release) upstream from the Smith Bridge on the South Branch of the AuSable River. On the main stream, the lower boundry of the "Holy Water" - all catch and release is Stephan's Bridge. The photo below is the view upstream from Stephans Bridge.

View from Stephan's Bridge

George Mason was instrumental in founding Trout Unlimited. ~ LadyFisher

Credits: Quotes from Fly Pattern and Their Origins (1950) by Harold Hinsdill Smedley,
published by Westshore Publications,
Muskegon, Michigan

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