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-eight

Black Nose Dace

Miracle Marabou Streamers
Blacknose Dace

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm, fly tied by Roger Plourde

Most of us can't remember a time when various forms of 'flash' were not readily available for the fly tier. Today's tier has a huge variety of materials from which to choose. Here is one of the first series of flies to use 'flash.'

Quoting Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing by Joseph D. Bates, Jr., "This series of five imitative patterns was originated by Mr. Bob Zwirz, of Connecticut (proprietor of The Anglers Cove, Inc., 478 Third Ave., New York City), and by Mr. Kani Evans, of New York, over a period of several years prior to 1963 in an effort to copy closely the five most important species of minnows common to waters in the northern states. The use of mylar is important in the series, to provide flash along the sides rather than along the belly of each pattern. The series was introduced by Mr. Zwirz in an article in the March, 1963 issue of Field and Stream and in other publications.

The five flies are dressed, using size 000 white silk thread, on 4X long shanked hooks in sizes from No. 8 to No. 2. All have fully built-up heads painted with clear lacquer and tinted with colors in the dressing instructions which follow. Rather large white or cream-colored eyes with black pupils are painted on the heads. Bodies are of spun fur in colors specified in the dressings, tapered full toward the head of the fly and picked out on the sides with a dubbing needle, the picked-out hairs then being stroked backward toward the tail.

The wings are of whole marabou feathers in colors as noted. Each feather is wetted, preferable by running it through the lips before placing it on the shank of the hook. The mylar is cut in strips slightly less than one-quarter inch wide (depending on size of the fly); tied in horizontally on each side of the wing, extending slightly beyond the bend of the hook and cut on the lower sides toward the ends to taper upward gradually to a point. Wings are slightly longer than the mylar. Throats and tails are a small bunch of fibers stripped from saddle hackles, slightely longer than the gap of the hook. If the mylar does not cling to the marabou wing, it can be brushed on the inside lightly with clear head cement. For purposes of simplicity these general instructions are given for all the flies and are not repeated in the individual dressings . . ."

The other four flies in this series are the Blueback Shiner, Golden Shiner, Longnose Dace and Silver Shiner. The recipe which follows is also from Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing.

Miracle Marabou Streamer
Blacknosed Dace

    [Hook: 4X long shanked hook in sizes from No. 8 to No. 2]

    Head: Top half, brown; lower half, white

    [Thread: 000 white silk thread.]

    Tail: Cream or very light ginger

    Body: Antique white [dubbed fur]

    Throat: Same as tail

    Wing: Two whole antique white marabou feathers, over which are two whole light drab (olive toward brown tone) marabou feathers

    Mylar: Silver, with upper third painted black, the paint extending from the tip to the painted eye. (Use black "Magic Marker" pencil, or lay a narrow (wetted) strip of black saddle hackle just over the mylar.)

"The blacknose dace is a small member of the Dace family vitally important as a bait for trout. It is widely distributed from the St. Lawrence southward through Georgia and westward to the Mississippi in the more northerly latitudes. It is exceedingly common in small, clear brooks and prefers moving water but avoids the very fast riffles which harbor its cousin, the longnose dace." ~ DLB

Credits: Photo from Forgotten Flies published by the Complete Sportsman.

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