Quoting from Favorite Flies and Their Histories by
Mary Orvis Marbury, "The Royal Coachman was first made in 1878 by
John Hailey, a prefessional fly-dresser living in New York city.
In writing of other matters, he inclosed a sample of this fly for
us to see, saying: "A gentleman wanted me to tie some Coachman
for him to take up into the north woods, and to make them extra
strong, so I have tied them with a little bank of silk in the
middle, to prevent the peacock bodies from fraying out. I have
also added a tail of the barred feathers of wood-duck, and I think
it makes a very handsome fly." A few evenings later, a circle of
us were together "disputing the fly question," one of the party
claiming that numbers were "quite as suitable to designate the
flies as so many nonsensical names." The others did not agree with
him, but he said: "What can you do? Here is a fly intended to be
a Coachman, yet it is not the true Coachman; is quite unlike it,
and what can you call it?" Mr. L.C. Orvis, brother of Mr. Charles
Orvis, who was present, said: "Oh, that is easy enough; call it
the Royal Coachman, it is so finely dressed!" And this name in
time came to be known and used by all who are familiar with the fly."
In the photo above, the Orvis Fly Room staff, circa 1880,
from Forgotten Flies.
Royal Coachman Wet
As dressed by Mary Orvis Marbury
Credits: Quoted text and small photo from
Favorite Flies and Their Histories, published
by Lyons Press. Large photo and Orvis Tiers Photo from
Forgotten Flies, published by Complete
Tail: Golden Pheasant tippet.
Body: Peacock herl, scarlet floss center joint.
Hackle: Dark brown.