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?

My Old Net

By James G. Birkholm (JC)

Ok, but this section says 'Old flies and Stuff,' well this is stuff. Way back in the days of the wagon-trains and AM radio when I started fly fishing, the game was pretty much about a different way to procure fish, namely for me, trouts. Oh, forgive me for that. I know the plural of 'trout' is 'trout' but I really like the 'trouts' word and perhaps I can change the whole English language one word at a time. I shall start with 'trouts.' So I soon bought a net and used it. Everybody did. Well all of the 'everybodys' I knew anyhow. And I got good with it too.

There are things to know about using a net, just like everything else, some do's and don't's come into play. I laugh to this day watching the idiot guides on TV (what a wonderful world of comedy that thing has become) slashing at a dudes fish. The sport stands rooted in place, line fiddle tight leading straight down current and the bozo guide clambers into the river and stabs at the poor hanging creature. How they can miss is beyond me, perhaps it is 'Fish-Fever,' kind of like 'Buck-Fever.' There are then more jumps, some by the fish, some not, and slashings and more stabbings. Comic relief in an otherwise troubling world.

Anyway, I always preferred to position myself below the intended creature and let it drift unobtrusibly back into the net. This could cause the deadly, "Don't let the net touch his tail!" So far on that score, as the back of the net was low and the tip was raised upon use, the score on the 'tail-touching' game came out 'Me'- all of them, 'Fish' zip. So much for that, but I suppose there is merit to it for some. Probably a three foot fish and a two foot net comes to mind.

Anyway, I learned after a only a few years of having the 'bow and arrow' syndrom appear that one does not use the stupid elastic cord often furnished with these small 'landing nets.' What a diabolical devise those things are. Perhaps invented by some 'blue-nose-do-gooder' who hates us and lies awake nights thinking of ways to annihilate fishermen in general.

I also learned how to land fish by hand which I have used for the past two score and more. So here is my old net. Reduced to nothing more than an oddity, a has-been, a 'thing of the past.' Useless. Not to be. I shall now elevate and venerate the tattered tool of my earlier years of piscatorial pursuit. And so I here present it in all of it's grime and glory for your respect and admiration.

I have been in contact with the company originally responsible for it's birth and they inform me sadly that as they still do offer similar products they are no longer made of the flora found around and near the tiny berg of Flint, Michigan as they were in the 60's when this one first appeared. The windings on the handle are mine lest you should confuse a quality product with the amateurish trappings of myself. At the time I was fond of the decoration as it seemed to customize it and I was big on things like that in those years.

Here is a picture of the net as it is these days. The netting is original.

This shows the logo of the company and a detail of the laminations.

I am glad I bought it years ago and have kept it safe, kind of a 'warm and fuzzy' thing I guess. I hope you have your own toys which bring you the same feelings. ~ JC

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