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?

Missoulian Spook

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

"This pattern originated when Dan Bailey crossed his Muddler Minnow with Theodore Gordon's Bumble Puppy. Bailey called it the White Muddler. Real fame began after Vince Hamlin, Alley Oop comic strip creator, used it with great success on Montana streams. In 1956, Hamlin drew it into one of his cartoons as the "Missoulian Spook" hanging from the mouth of a leaping trout. Joe Brooks touted it to great popularity using Hamlin's name."

Missoulian Spook

    Orginator: Dan Bailey, 1940s.

    Hook: Mustad 9672, or equivalent, size 4-12.

    Thread: Grey 2/0.

    Tail: White turkey quill segments.

    Butt: Red chenille.

    Rib: Flat silver tinsel.

    Body: White floss.

    Underwing: White calf tail.

    Wing: White turkey quill segments.

    Sides: Thin teal flank strip.

    Head and collar: Spun deer hair clipped to shape.

Vince and his wife, Dorothy, were our neighbors at Pine Creek outside Livingston, Montana. They had a one-story log cabin where they spent their summers. Winter was spent in Florida, Sarasota/Bradenton area if my memory is correct. Vince was 'born' a trout fisherman, in fact his middle name was Trout! When we met them in 1972, Vince had just sold his comic strip to a young man who had been working with him for some time, Dave Graue. Vince was still involved with the on-going story line and was quite concerned at how his successor would carry it on.

Vince had a real interest in dinosaurs and it is thought Alley Oop came from that foundation. The cartoon strip was very popular, and in World War II 'Alley' even appeared on the nose of many fighter planes and on at least one military patch! Alley Oop still lives on, you can see more HERE.

One of Vince's favorite fishing places was right below the Pine Creek bridge on the Yellowstone, a short walk from his cabin. He and Dan Bailey remained friends and fishing buddies for many years. Vince died in 1993.

Credits: Photo, recipe and quoted text from Trout Country Flies, by Bruce Staples, Published by Frank Amato Publications.

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