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 Sixteen


Photo from Outdoor Life, 100 Years in Pictures

By "Old Rupe"

My parents were unique people. My father was a hunter but my mother was more complex. She was a school teacher till she retired in her sixties then did a successful stint as a chef. She decided that wasn't her thing and entered the family law firms to help her brothers daughter and managed it until she was 92. In between 18 hour days at the law office she traveled with me.

After my dad died I invited her to go with me on one of my jaunts to help her forget her loss and I found that I really enjoyed traveling with her. We did Mexico several times, Belize, Gautama, Honduras - where I met my wife - and later New Brunswick, Alberta, and most of the United States.

Reflecting back on all those years I find that my memories are a collection of events defined by the country where they occurred. I guess all trips were a fishing event in some form or another. I always traveled with a rod or two.

Mexico was the heat of Cuidad Victoria and the cool breezes of the mountains in Tamazunchal , Mexico City and the pyramids and the floating gardens and Veracruz and the ocean breeze in the evening.

Belize was the big catfish she caught on the Belize river under the bridge and all the small catfish I caught off Tonya's Dock in the city - 2 to 3 on each cast - and the trip down the Sobun River and back with a leaky aluminum boat and a Scot Atwater 5 horse outboard. My first mullet on a fly, the sand fleas, and bad roads.

Guatemala was the big lake that seemed to have no fish in it. Disgusted I moved to Honduras and fished Lake Yojoa. There my mom caught a 7 and 1/4 pound bass on 6 lb test line and I met my wife. My first date with her was a boat ride from the camp to the lake where she caught 8 bass. We were married 3 months later.

We caught from 20 to 30 bass a day. I will never forget the day we were caught on the windy side of the lake in a leaky old wood boat. I'm lucky to be here.

My favorite picture is one of mom's 16 lb salmon and my 28 lb fish, caught on my boat in Ontario. What a great day. The size wasn't the thing as I've caught chinook to 45 lbs on the fly. It was the day. Mom and I sharing a great day with nice fish.

I remember Alberta and the pond where all the dumb trout were. Mom and I chased the school around the pond for hours. The Bow river and my brush with serious consequences as the result of high water. Big fish on the Little Raven. The elk that grazed four feet from our trailer. The three sisters (the mountain peaks) and the mountain goats.

My best memory on Lake Erie was a 10 fish limit that mom couldn't hold up to photograph. Several years later we caught a 20 fish limit that we couldn't lift into the back of my pick-up. This was after we removed the top six fish to give to my mechanic.

The trip on my boat to Mount Clemens where she had her 6th year birthday party 80 years before. And the look around the town.

The defining look at my mom had to come during one of my many Florida trips. I had a 16 foot Skeeter bass Boat with a six horse Evinrude motor. We were catching fish but only keeping a few as three fish a day and french fries was more than we could eat. We were fishing Lake Okeechobee and were winding up a three week jaunt. The other fishermen were making fun of me and my six horse outfit. Mom said,"let's put it to them."

We had a gator hole that had a ton of big fish which we hadn't really fished hard. That last day we shiner fished that hole all day long. No more plastic worms and spinner baits, just big shiners and putting all the fish in the live well.

We came in with a 20 fish limit that averaged over five pounds apiece. One hundred pounds of bass on one trip. A serious box. I loaded all 20 in the big salmon net and went to gas up the truck for the return trip to Ohio. Mom dragged the net toward the fish cleaning station. One of fishermen saw her struggling and helped her drag it to the station.

When I returned with the electric knife and started cleaning the fish, she said in her best "where's the beef" voice, "see aren't you glad we threw all those fish back. If we hadn't we would be here till midnight." Nobody had more than five fish. It was a very quiet cleaning job. Nobody said a word. The chief guide said, "I guess that small motor didn't hurt their catch much." Nobody said a word.

My moms last high pitched comment in the fish cleaning station was "aren't you glad you didn't keep all those fish for the last three weeks?" "It would have made this vacation a job." As I was dragging the fish box out to the van, moms comment to me in her high pitched voice was "I don't see why they have a 20 fish limit, we caught 20 before noon." " If someone doesn't catch them they will overpopulate the lake." From when I arrived to when I left no one said a word, no "nice box," nothing. Mom said as she was leaving she had to restrain her self from saying ---- put-put-put. ~ "Old Rupe"

P.S. Mom is 95 and still going to the lake with me. She still hasn't changed. A barbed wit and a sharp tongue.

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