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-thirty

Joe Brooks Shrimp

Joe Brooks Shrimp
Dressed by Jimmie Albright

By Deanna Birkholm


Joe Brooks was one of the world's premier fly anglers. He and his wife Mary, fished New Zealand, Argentina, Yugoslavia, England, Scotland, British Columbia, Newfoundland and most places in the world fighting fish are found. His writing helped popularize many previously unknown waters. He was the fishing editor of Outdoor Life magazine, and was featured on the ABC American Sportsman TV series.

Trout Fishing published in 1972 lists quite a variety of subject matter for his earlier books:
  • Complete Book of Fly Fishing

  • Complete Guide to Fishing Across North America

  • A World of Fishing

  • Saltwater Game Fishing

  • Complete Illustrated Guide to Casting

  • Bass Bug Fishing

  • Saltwater Fly Fishing

  • Bermuda Fishing

  • Greatest Fishing

His best known flies are probably the "Blond" dry fly series, which were created for rough western US waters. He was however, an avid saltwater angler!

He pioneered fly fishing for striped bass, bonefish, permit, and other saltwater species, and in 1948 took a record 29-pound 6-ounce striper on a popping bug. This shrimp, created in the late 1940's, was an innovative fly for bonefish or even tarpon in it's time.

The recipe is: Joe Brooks Shrimp

    Thread:   Red.

    Tail:   Two pink saddle tips.

    Body:  Flat silver tinsel.

    Hackle: 
    Pink saddle hackle palmered through body and clipped at top (hackle extends slightly beyond gap width.)

    Head:  Red.

Credits: pattern and photo from Streamer FlyTying & Fishing by Joseph D. Bates, Jr. published by Stackpole Books. ~ DLB

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