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 fourty-one

Leisenring Black Gnat

Leisenring Black Gnat

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

From Dick Surette's Trout and Salmon FLY INDEX, "One of the indications of a well-tied fly is not overdressing or making the fly too full, this is a pitfall of most beginners. The proper sparseness will allow the fibers, furs, and materials to work or act more lifelike in the water. Insects have tremendous movement as they swim about in their environment.

Jim Leisenring (JL), one of the best wet fly tyers of all time, was a master in selection of the proper materials for tying his overall sparse but effective flies. His time-consuming efforts show in his work as he did indeed have some excellent flies that were simple but yet very effective. The book The Art of Tying the Wet Fly and Fishing the Flymp by Leisenring and Vernon Hidy shows the patterns, materials and painstaking efforts to secure just the right material for each and every fly."

Leisenring Photo

The framed photo of JL, shown above, is courtesy of Rod Rohrback, owner of the Little LeHigh Fly Shop. Chat Room Host Ron Koenig borrowed it to photograph for use here when he picked up an old copy of Leisenrings book on The Art of Tying The Wet Fly. Ron says, "the fly in the shadow box next to the photo was tied by JL and it looks like it's a wet Quill Gordon."

Quoting Surette again, "Black is a predominant color in many aquatic insects; at least, may are on the dark side and black is a very visible color in any trout stomach analysis."

Leisenring Black Gnat - Dressing

    Hook:   Mustad #3906, sizes 12-14-16-18.

    Thread:   Crimson or claret silk.

    Body:   Black silk or two or three fibers from a crow's secondary wing feather.

    Wing:  Dark starling (optional).

    Hackle:   Purplish black feather from the shoulder of a cock starling.

Credits: Quoted text, recipe and fly photo from Dick Surette's Trout and Salmon Fly Index published by Stackpole Books. Photo of Jim Leisenring and fly from Little LeHigh Fly Shop, thanks to Ron Koenig. ~ DLB

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