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?

Bailey's Damsel

Compiled By James Birkholm

Dan Bailey, Livingston, Montana, created and popularized many flies, including some for Joe Brooks and Lee Wulff, but to my knowledge, this is the only one which carries his name. He was extremely knowledgable about the local insects and hatches. The LadyFisher and I were honored to have worked for him as guides in the 1970s. He was a real gentleman and very unassuming, which may explain the lack of 'Bailey' named flies.

Quoting Trout Country Flies, From Greater Yellowstone Area Masters by Bruce Staples and published by Frank Amato Publications, "The first description I found of this pattern was in Jack Dennis' Western Trout Fly Tying Manual: Volume II. He states it is effective and easily tied. Fly fishers have presented damselfly nymphs for centuries, but traditions that first came to America were centered around imitating baitfish and life stages of mayflies. Undoubtedly, Dan Bailey created this pattern when offering damselfly nymphs gained enough popularity to justify retailing it."

Bailey's Damsel

Originator: Dan Bailey, 1960s.

Hook: Mustad 9672, or equivalanet, size 6 - 10.

Thread: Black 3/0.

Tail: Pale olive marabou fibers.

Rib: Gold mylar tinsel in front of grey ostrich herl.

Body: Peacock herl.

Thorax: White floss.

Wingcase: White floss.

Legs: Brown hackle.

~ JC

Credits: Quoted portions and photo from Trout Country Flies, From Greater Yellowstone Area Masters by Bruce Staples and published by Frank Amato Publications.

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