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 eighty-three



Compiled by Deanna Lee Birkholm

In Fishing Atlantic Salmon author Joseph D. Bates, Jr., claims this dry fly for salmon, "is one of my favorites because it is showy, unusual, hard to sink, and very productive. The Brown Bomber calls for natural brown hair for tail and body, white wing (for better visibility), and reddish brown ribbing. The White Bomber (sometimes called the Peppermint bomber) is all white with red ribing. The Black Bomber is all black with white ribbing.

The Bomber dry flies should not be confused with wet-fly patterns of the same name. Bombers were developed in the 1960's for use on New Brunswick's Miramichi River and popularized by the Revernend Elmer Smith, a great authority on salmon and a legendary figure on the Miramichi. Inspired by the success he observed as a young boy having with a spun-hair mouse, Father Smith tied his first Bomber as a wet fly, trimming its bulky body and using a single grizzly hackle, dyed red, tied in at the bend and palmered forward over the body. Later, thinking the fly would be effective as a dry fly, he dressed it in several variations, preferring a body of spun deer hair, trimmed and tapered toward the eye, with two stiff hackles tied in by their butts and wound forward.

Some anglers say that if you can't catch a salmon with a Bomber, you shouldn't bother fishing. Bombers can be fished dry (the usual practice), dry and dragging (with a fast skittering motion), or wet (like any other sunken fly). They are effective in each technique."

As dressed by Warren Duncan

    Tail:  A fairly large and rather short bunch of the same deer body hair used for the body of the fly. (Other materials are often used, such as calf or woodchuck.)

    Wing:  A fairly short bunch of the same body hair tied so as to extend forward at an angle of about 45 degrees. (This forward and upward bunch of hair is called a "wing" for want of a better term. The upward slant keeps it free of the eye of the hook.)

    Body:  Natural deer body hair (gray, brown, or white) spun on, tightly massed, flared out, and clipped to a smooth cigar shape, tapering toward the tail and slightly toward the head. The body should be clipped so that about one-third is below the hook shank and two-thirds above it, to allow plenty of clearance between body and barb. To produce a dense body, rather small bunches of body hair should be used. Many anglers like the body rather roughly clipped.

    Ribbing:  (For the White Bomber shown): Grizzly hackle dyed red, tied in at the tail and palmered through the clipped body from tail to head.

    Head:  Use any appropriately colored thread.

Credits: Information and photos from Fishing Atlantic Salmon, by Joseph D. Bates, Jr, published by Stackpole Books.

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