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
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?
By Eric Austin
Archive of Old Flies
The Babcock has had several incarnations, the first
having no tail whatsoever. All subsequent versions
had tails, and I've done one of each, the Bergman fly
and the tailless original, (shown above).
The original fly was named after W.J. and Charles H.
Babcock, of Rochester, New York. W.J. was one of the
organizers of the National Sportsmen's Association in
1874. Charles H. served as Fish Commissioner of New York
state from 1885 to 1902.
The first fly had wings of white duck quill with a narrow
strip of black along the top. The body of this fly has
remained constant, and is red floss with a gold tinsel rib.
The newer version of the fly, shown in both the Bergman and
J.Edson Leonard books, is a vision of yellow and black, with
both wings and tail featuring married strands of yellow and
Terry Hellekson, in his book Fish Flies, has
yet another version, sort of a hair-wing version of the
Bergman fly. It seems more Western to me, and I will call
it the Western version until corrected. Here are all the
recipes for the Babcock:
The Original Babcock
Ray Bergman's Babcock
Western Babcock (Hellekson)
Hooks: MUSR70, TMC3769, or DIA1550, sizes 8-14
Credits: Fish Flies by Terry Hellekson;
Trout by Ray Bergman; Flies by J.
Edson Leonard. ~ EA
Tail: Scarlet red hackle barbs.
Ribbing: Flat gold tinsel.
Body: Red floss.
Hackle: Black tied on as a collar and tied back and down.
Wing: Yellow calf tail tied over the body.
Topping: Three peacock sword feather barbs.
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