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-nine

Reub(en) Wood

Reub Wood

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

"It's Reub not Rube [also Reuben Wood] as too often incorrectly spelled.

Reuben Wood, 1822-1884, was born in Greenbush, New York, and Syracuse became his home at an early age. He was an ardent member of the Onondaga Fishing Club of that city and as often as opportunity afforded, he wore the badge of that organization.

Although he was raised to the baker's trade in Greenbush and followed it for a time in Syracuse, he forsook it for the sporting goods business.

In 1881 Reuben Wood won all the distance fly events at the New York State Sportsmen's Meet.

In 1883 Mr. Wood, who was in London in charge of the American exhibit at the International Fisheries Exposition by appointment of Professor Spencer Baird, participated in a fly casting tournament. He took first in the salmon fly event with 108 feet, and first in the single handed trout fly event with 82 1/2 feet.

The Reub Wood fly was first tied by himself to simulate a live insect found in his favorite fishing locality, Cranberry Lake, in the Adirondacks. The insect was probably a white bodied moth with gray wings. After he presented some to his friends, they called the fly "Reub Wood."

The Reub Wood is described as:"

    Body:  white chenille, small red tip at lower end.

    Tail:  Brown.

    Wing:  Brown.

    Hackle:  Brown.

"The Proctor, named after T.P. Proctor, of Utica, dating about 1885, is a Reub Wood, but with a pale pink body tipped with olive brown.

After Mr. Wood's death a monument was erected on Cranberry Lake, near the north bank of Sucker Creek. The memorial, composed of three blocks of granite about 12 feet in height above the water at the inlet, was worthily dedicated by Justice I. G. Vann of the Court of Appeals of Syracuse. The inscription composed by the Justice read, "In memory of Reuben Wood, a genial gentleman and great fisherman, who was fond of these solitudes."

Quoted section from Fly Patterns and Their Origins, published by Westshore Publications, Color photo from Forgotten Flies. We appreciate use permission!

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