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?

Golden Spinner

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

"Theodore Gordon, noted angler-author, tier of the first American dryflies, and creator of the fly that bears his name, [Gordon Quill] was born in Pittsburgh in 1854. He died at Bradley, New York, on the Neversink, in 1915. The last thirty-five years of his life were spent on or near the trout streams of Sullivan County. He was an ardent and expert fisherman and a most proficient fly tier. He is considered the father of dryfly fishing in the United States.

He was well known in England, where he had fished, as in this country and was a valued contributor to the outdoor publications.

Mr. Gordon was tying dryflies on eyed hooks in 1888 or earlier. With the exception of the Kewell Brothers, of San Franciso, formerly of London, who were making and selling "Boynton" floating flies, as "new to the States," Gordon was the then only souce of such dryflies, except English made flies in some stores.

Mr. Gordon tied his first dryflies from samples and instructions from Halford. He was the first to urge the use of dryflies for salmon, which flies he started tying in 1891.

...For the Quill Gordon, he stated the wing should be a single upright bunch of wood duck barbules because the natural holds its wings erect and together when at rest, which indicates a Mayfly. Gordon called this fly a Blue Quill Gordon. Gordon himself referred to his gold bodied fly as the Golden Spinner."

Golden Spinner

    Tag: Fine oval gold tinsel.

    Body: Yellow floss.

    Rib: Fine oval gold tinsel.

    Wing: Light slate quills.

    Hackle: Light dun hackle.

"...In 1903 Gordon introduced a cork bodied, feather and bucktail haired bug. Gordon tied his own dryflies to suit the water and the season.

He was a disbeliever in foreign patterns and believed in copying our own natural insects as closely as possible. He carried out his beliefs in his own tying.

Writing in 1906, Gordon said of hackled flies: "If the size, color of body and legs are right, they (trout) do not detect the absence of the upright wings, which are so conspicous to us.""

Credits: Text from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by Harold Hinsdill Smedley, Published by Westshore Publications. Fly photo and recipe from Forgotten Flies. We appreciate use permission.

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