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
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 . . .
Photo from Outdoor Life, 100 Years in Pictures
By "Old Rupe"
Archive of Old Flies
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
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
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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