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 Ninety-three

Black Ghost

Black Ghost

By Deanna Birkholm


The whole series of Rangely flies are often credited to Carrie Stevens. But others contributed by inventing very effective flies. The Black Ghost, shown above was the creation of Herb Welch. (1879 - 1960).

Herbert Leon Welch was one of the first to establish a successful retail shop in the Rangely Lakes region. He is said to have started fly fishing at age seven, pulled out feathers from his father's roosters and tied them on a bent pin. According to the information in Forgotten Flies he received his first fly rod from a local small town comic actor. He was formally trained as an artist and sold artwork alongside his taxidemy and artificial flies.

Black Ghost on Herb's Invoice

The Black Ghost was first tied under Herb's direction at the Boston Sportsman's show in 1927. He also created the Cupsuptic Streamer, Jane Craig, Yellow Jane Craig, Kennebago and Welch Rarebit.

Limited to twenty member, he was a member of the Kennebago Tribe, a club founded after World War I by Charles Southard for the advancement of the sport, conservation of trout and other gamefish, and mutual companionship. He was also a member of the Tyhee Club of British Columbia, where it was necessary to catch a thirty-pound fish with limited equipment to be a eligible for membership.

For two years he held the world record for a bonefish on a fly rod. In 1950 he caught a twelve-pound-four-ounce bonefish on a red bodied, yellow-winged streamer. His record was beaten by two ounces in 1952.

The Black Ghost is tied: body, black floss, ribbed with silver tinsel; tail, yellow hackel fibers; wing, white neck hackles; hackle, sparse yellow; shoulder, jungle-cock eye. ~ LadyFisher

Information from Forgotten Flies published by The Complete Sportsman and Fly Patterns and Their Origins, published by Westshore Publications. Photo is from Forgotten Flies, we greatly appreciate use permission!

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