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?
Part One hundred ninty-two
Compiled by Deanna Lee Birkholm
Archive of Old Flies
Quoting Reuben R. Cross, of Lew Beach, New York, from
Fly Patterns and Their Origins:
"I started fly tying because I didn't have the ten cents to buy
all the dry fly hooks* that I wanted, back in 1906. There was
no one in those days who would share any secrets in tying the
dry fly, or any other kind. Theodore Gorden, who was considered
about 'IT' in those days, used to stay in Neversink and we were
quite good friends, so I got a few of his flies and working,
trying to copy them for a long time, guess it took me six or
seven years before I got so I could tie a fly that suited me,
and I still am disgusted with some I tie.
The Cross is similar to the present light Hendrickson, but with
a still lighter body.
The Cross Special was a cross between the Gordon Quill and light
Cahill. I first tied it because the two flies were the best and
most popular on the Catskill streams, and I thought the 'cross'
should be good, and it has been as effective as any that I know.
All I did was put the light Cahill body on the Gordon Quill maing
it a 'cross' bread. I didn't intend my name to be hooked to it
but it wasn't long before it was."
* Sparse Grey Hackle says: What Cross refers to as 'dry fly
hooks' means flies, not hooks. The old timers always referred
to a fly as a 'fly hook' and a spinner as a 'spoon hook.' Dry
flies were ten cents apiece in the fold days, sort of a standard
price, like three dollars a dozen now (Or has it gone up again?)
Authors note - "Sparce Grey Hackle" is Alfred W. Miller of New
Credits: Quoted text and black and white photo from
Fly Patterns and Their Origins.
Colored fly photos from Trout, by Ray Bergman, published by Knopf.
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