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?


Black, Tippet & Yellow

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm


"From that September day in 1920 when General Money fished the Stamp River system for the first time up to the end of 1925, he often jotted down in his game book some particulars about the flies he used. Often those particulars were, however, not sufficient to dress the patterns. But by examining the many samples in two of his fly boxes that have survived these many years for style and composition I was able to put together a reasonable composite for some of these unknown-until-this-time Money flies.

Sometimes the General made a specific reference to the fly he used and names such as his Rainbow, Golden Red, Prawn and Grey flies can be found in his fame book. However, many times he listed the general composition and didn't give a reference name: such is the case with the Black, Tippet & Yellow. I dressed and named this pattern after reading about the fly in two of Money's diary entries.

On December 29, 1924, General Money fished Swanson's Run on the Somass River and took and 11 1/2 pound winter steelhead. About the fish and fly he says it was "A grand fish very short & thick, fresh from the sea; blk. silk body, silver ribbing, red hackle, tippett & yellow wing, jungle cock cheeks."

On March 2, 1925, the General slipped over the Swanson's again. This time and 8 3/4 pound winter steelhead was lured to his black-bodied fly. About the fly the General noted it was dressed on a 1/0 hook and that it consisted of a "Blk. silk body, ribbed silver, red hackle, tippet & jungle cock wing."

In one of his fly boxes, I found a tippet-winged pattern similar, althought not exact to the one I have dressed, instead of a yellow wing the same has bronze mallard - the General dressed many patterns with this winging material - and he used a blue jay throat instead of red.

The Black, Tippet & Yellow is just another sample of General Noel Money's striking colour combinations: attractive to the eyes of the fishermen as well as the fish. It is the first British Columbian steelhead pattern to incorporate golden pheasant tippet in the wing.

Black, Tippet & Yellow

    Hook: Number 2/0 to 4.

    Tag: Oval, silver tinsel.

    Body: Black floss.

    Rib: Oval, silver tinsel.

    Throat: Red hackle.

    Wing: Strips of fibres from a golden pheasants orange tippet feather. [also tail]

    [Cheeks: Jungle cock shown.]

    Originator: General Noel Money.

    Intended Use: Wet fly for winter steelhead.

    Location: Somass River."

Credits: Text and Photo from Fly Patterns of British Columbia by Arthur James Lingren, Published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

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