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?

Poisonous Fireflies

By Old Rupe

Fireflies have a poisonous substance in their blood stream that acts as a defense mechanism to protect them from predators. When the firefly gets excited it "bleeds" droplets of blood containing the poison which predators sense and they then avoid the firefly. It appears that animals that evolved where these poisonous fireflies live have developed a genetic aversion to the smell of the poison.

Early on we knew birds and spiders would leave fireflies alone but only lately after several non-native species ate fireflies and died did they realize why native predators showed this avoidance response.

One firefly has killed a 30 pound iguana. Certain species don't manufacture the poison but get it by mimicking a female of the species and eating the male when it arrives. Lizards and frogs from Australia are especially vulnerable. I would imagine trout would display this avoidance response but I could find no mention of this in the literature.

I would gamble that those firefly imitations are not being taken by fish as a firefly. Squeeze several fireflies and drop them in the water upstream of a hatch and tell me if trout continue to rise. Don't tell me if you gave your honey chocolate covered fireflies last night. ~ old rupe

Note: See the Cornell researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Sept. 2, 1997, Vol. 94, pp. 9723-9728), or search the internet under lucibufagins and Cornell.

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