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 seventy-six



Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

Dean Sage, of Menands, near Albany, New York, was a famous salmon angler and the Sage fly was his creation. He wrote about the Atlantic salmon in the volume, Salmon and Trout, 1902.

Mr. Sage was also the author of The Restigouche and its Salmon Fishing. At an auction sale of books in New York in 1909, after Mr. Sages death, a copy sold for $180.

The Sage has a yellow dubbin body; silver rib; a tail of widgeon; scarlet, green and orange or yellow hackle; and a dark widgeon or mallard wings.

Mr. Sage formed an exquisite angling library which was inherited and augmented by his son, Dean Sage, of New York, who in 1942 disposed of it at public auction. The collection had many of the earlier books, including fifty-eight different copies of Izaak Walton's Complete Angler, two of which were of these first edition of 1653. At the sale one of these brought $975 and the other $950, a new high for this "one-and-sixpenny pook." The value in 1850 was estimated at $63.

As tied by Ray Bergman

    Head:   Black.

    Tag:   Silver tinsel.

    Tail:   Scarlet, insect green, gray mallard.

    Body:   Yellow wool.

    Rib:   Black silk thread.

    Hackle:   Orange.

    Wing:   Dark gray mallard.

Credits: Information from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by Harold Hinsdill Smedley. Photo from Forgotten Flies by Paul Schmookler and Ingrid V. Sils.

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