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-five

Red Fox

Red Fox

By Deanna Birkholm


According to Fly Patterns and Their Origins, "This interesting anecdote is related on no less authority than that of John Woodruff . . . , a fellow member of the Anglers' Club of New York.

It seems a man named York, who had sold to Mr. Hewitt a small portion of the famous angler's holdings on the Neversink, had a daughter, Vera, who tied and sold flies to the fishermen thereabouts. One day she saw Mr. Hewitt hang up in the bushes and lose his fly. After he had left and she found it, she tied some after this salvaged pattern, so she told Johnny [Woodruff], when one rainy evening, when she showed up at the cabin of the Fly Fishers Club of Brooklyn and asked him to buy a dozen. According to John, "they were bum flies - soft hackles, sloppy tied," but the girl was soaking wet and Johnny bought them out of kindness, with no thought they were any good.

The next day was the Angler's Club annual outing and fishing contest. About mid-afternoon, Woodruff galloped - according to Walter Dette, Roscoe fly tied - into his shop, incoherent with excitment, demanding that Walter instantly drop everything and tie him a supply of these patterns. They were the only things the fish were taking and he wanted some better ones for the evening rise, to win the competition.

When this story was told to Mr. Hewitt, he admited he had originated the pattern."

This fly is one of the many flies created by Edward R. Hewitt, and is considered a standard Catskill pattern. ~ LadyFisher

Information from Fly Patterns and Their Origins, published by Westshore Publications. Photo from Forgotten Flies. We appreciate use permission!

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