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?


The Nameless

Compiled by Eric Austin
Fly tied by Eric Austin


This fly was made and named the "Nameless" by Mr. John Shields, as a reminder of the Nameless Creek featured in W.H.H. Murray's book Adventures in the Wilderness. I would very much like to get hold of this book, as it was important in drawing sportsmen and invalids to the Adirondacks. The Adirondacks were known to have a curative effect on the sick, and the Will Rodger's Institute, a famous sanatorium for Tuberculosis victims, was located in Saranac Lake. There were also many health spas in the area, and grand hotels at the turn of the century, through the 20s. In many ways, this era was the golden age of the Adirondack region.

There is a passage in Mary Orvis Marbury's book from Murray's book, which I find beautiful and compelling. I'm quite sure it is a description of the view from atop Whiteface Mountain, though it doesn't say so explicitly. There is even a reference to John Brown's grave at Lake Placid. I've seen this view many times, and climbed Whiteface in my '40s with my brother. There is also a road up, which is the way I'll be getting up there from here on. It's a stunning view, because Whiteface is isolated, not part of the other Adirondack peaks. This passage says it all:

"With what words shall I be able to make you see what we saw? The air was pure and clear as a newly-cut diamond, white and colorless as mountain air always is, - a perfect lens, through which, with unimpeded eye, we saw the marvelous transfiguration from day to night go on. Five thousand feet beneath us Lake Placid slept, verifying its name. In the south, a hundred mountain peaks were ablaze with the peculiar red sunset light. For a hundred miles the wilderness stretched away, - a deep green sea, across whose surface the sun was casting great fields of crimson. Amid the darker portions eighty patches of gold flashed, representing as many lakes. Eastward, the valley of Champlain lay in deep shadow. To the north, bounding the vision like a thread of silver, gleamed the St. Lawrence. In the valley of the south lay the martyred dust of him who died on a Virginia gallows, that American manhood and American liberty might not perish. The closing moment had now come. The heavens to the west were swathed in the richest tints of scarlet and orange. A thousand colors lay on forest and lake. The mountain summits flamed. The sun, like a globe of liquid fire, quivering in the intensity of its heat, stood as if balancing on the western pines. Down into them it burnt its way. Pausing for a moment, and only for a moment, it poured its warm benediction upon the forest, bade a crimson farewell to each mountain top, kissed the clouds around its couch, quivered, dropped from sight! And in the crisp air we thus stood, and gazed in silence westward, until the shadows deepened along the sky; the fog crept in and filled once more the valley at our feet; and the wilderness which had been to me and mine a nurse and home, and which we feared we should never see or enter together again, lay wrapped in silence and in gloom." ~ W.H.H. Murray.

This is the recipe for the fly depicted in the Mary Orvis Marbury Book Favorite Flies and Their Histories, or as close as I can come to it by looking at the picture:

Recipe Nameless:

    Tip: Silver Tinsel.

    Tail: Yellow Goose or Mallard.

    Tag: Orange floss.

    Body: Embossed tinsel.

    Hackle: Palmered yellow.

    Wing: Ring neck pheasant quill over barred wood duck.

    Head: Red thread or wool.

Here is another recipe for the nameless, as follows:

    Tail: Mallard Dyed yellow.

    Body: Embossed silver tinsel.

    Hackle: Scarlet tied palmer half way.

    Wing: Light pheasant, light brown mottled. ~ EA

Credits: Text from Favorite Flies and Their Histories by Mary Orvis Marbury.

Archive of Old Flies


[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice