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 One hundred-sixteen



Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

There is a bit of disagreement on the originator of this beautiful fly. According to the terrific new book Century End by Paul Ptalis, it was originated by F.L. Popham, with this tie as in The Salmon Fly written by Geo. M. Kelson in 1895.

Fly Patterns and Their Origins says however, "Another creation of James Wright . . . is named after F.L. Popham of Littlecot, near Brighton, who often fished near and visited Sprouston. Mr. Popham won the Derby [famous British horserace] in the fifties. [1850's]

Mr. Wright, 1829 - 1902, won many awards, medals and diplomas, between 1862 and 1883, for his trout and salmon flies. He is credited with the Silver Gray, Thunder and Lightning, and others."

The pattern shown, tied by Paul Ptalis, is described in Century End as:
    Hook:  6/0 Wm. Bartleet by R.W. Reinhold.

    Tag:   Gold twist.

    Tail:  Golden pheasant crest and indian crow.

    Body:   In three equal sections, each terminating with a black herl butt, The first of dark red-orange silk, ribbed with fine gold tinsel having indian crow above and below; the second, yellow silk with similar ribbing and crow feathers as before; the third of light blue silk and silver ribbing with the indian crow repeated.

    Throat:   Jay.

    Rib:   Fine oval gold tinsel, or gold wire in smallers sizes counter-wrapped to reinforce the palmered body hackle.

    Wing:   Tippet, teal, gallina, golden pleasant tail, parrot light brown mottled turkey, bustard, red macaw, yellow macaw, with two strips of mallard above and a topping.

    Horns:   Blue Macaw.

Credits: Quoted section from Fly Patterns and Their Origins, by Harold Hinsdill Smedley, published by Westshore Publications. Color photo and recipe from Century End, A Fly Tying Journey, published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission!

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