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?

Incredible Silver Minnow

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

As you can see by the photo, there are at least two of the "incredible" minnows. The top one is the original, created by Al Giradot of Detroit, Michigan. In an article in the March, 1965 issue of Sports Afield, Maury Delman, prominent outdoor writer from Flushing, NY says:

"Properly fished, the Silver Minnow is the quintessence of deadliness. In Labrador I coaxed landlocked salmon from their white water lies when all other flies failed commonly. In Iceland the fly evoked hard strikes from sea trout. Manitoba's heralded God's River gave up lunker brook trout in heavy water. It has given me furious action from smallmouths and educated trout in eastern streams - and even walleyes. When Al first tied the fly he did not weight the body, so the streamer momentarily floated, requiring vigorous stripping in to sink it. He wanted a minnow mimic that would travel the route of natural bait. By adding the lead and tinsel, he got precisely what he wanted."

Incredible Silver Minnow

    Hook: No. 6, 2XL

    Tail: A small bunch of gray stripped mallard herl or grizzly hackle.

    Body: Wound tightly with lead wire. The wire body is covered and tapered with silk floss of any color. This is covered completely by a double overlay of embossed flat silver tinsel.

    Throat: A small bunch of long crimson rooster hackle, the longest ones extending to the point of the hook.

    Wing: A very small bunch of white bucktail, over which a very small bunch of blue (dyed) impala hair. Over this is a gray mallard flank feather tied on flat on top of the hair so it surrounds all of the hair. The elements of the wing extand half again as long as the hook.

    Head: Built up to minnow-shape with 00 nylon thread, painted silver. Small painted black eyes, with yellow dot in center.

For the 'incredible 2', leave the 'roof' off. My thanks to the reader who suggested this fly - forgive me, I lost your email. The number 2 is very similar to the fly we used very successfully trolling for silver salmon (coho) in Lake Michigan.

Credits: Photos from Forgotten Flies by Paul Schmookler and Ingrid V. Sils; Recipe and text from Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing by Joseph D. Bates, Jr. ~ DLB

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