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 fifty-four

Hoot Smith Special

Hoot Smith Special

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

First tied in the mid 1960's, the Hoot Smith Special is not really an 'old' fly, but is remarkable because it was the beginning of what has become the 'modern' atlantic salmon flies.

Quoting Dick Surette's Trout and Salmon Fly Index "This Atlantic salmon hairwing pattern was orginated and tied by "Hoot Smith," a registered guide and owner of the Governor's Table Camps of Hartland, New Brunswick. First tied in the mid 1960's, this pattern reflects the modern approach to simplified salmon dressing. Slim, well proportioned, and tied with readily available materials, it is a very basic style that is a steady producer on salmon waters.

Hoot stated: "Many people tie flies for looks but I always try to make a fly that catches fish. I like my flies on the skimpy, sparse side. The preferred wing material is black Russian squirrel but is very hard to obtain; dark fitch tail or dyed black squirrel can be substituted. The proper body color is most important and should be fluorescent pink; an optional version is with a black hackle collar." The simple hairwing salmon fly is becoming the standard fly on many rivers. Several trout patterns tied hairwing style are good salmon flies - namely, Professor, Royal Coachman, and March Brown, all tied with hairwings in place of quill wings." [published in 1978.]

Hoot Smith Special

    Hook: Mustad #36890 or Mustad #3582C doubles.

    Sizes: 6-8-10.

    Thread: Black silk or pre-waxed nylon.

    Tag: Medium oval silver tinsel.

    Body: Fluorescent pink, Danville depth ray wool.

    Ribbing: Medium oval silver tinsel.

    Wing: Black Russian squirrel, dark fitch tail, or dyed black squirrel.


Credits: Fly photo and recipe from Dick Surette's Trout and Salmon Fly Index published by Stackpole Books.

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