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 Bomber and the Green Machine

By Skip Morris
Excerpt from Morris On Tying Flies

Fly patterns that make a splash usually see their popularity evaporating within a decade, and by the two-decade mark drift only as foggy memories in the backs of most fly fisher's minds. A few, however, endure. The Bomber is among those few.

After thirty to forty years on the scene, this fly still shows up in the catalogs of some big fly-fishing mail-order houses, and those businesses carry only what sells. Clearly the Bomber, after all these years, still sells.

The Bomber first appeared, according to Joseph Bates, Jr. in his book Atlantic Salmon Flies & Fishing, in 1967 for use on New Brunswick's Miramichi River. "Though designed for Atlantic salmon, the fly then," says Kent Helvie in his book Steelhead Fly Tying Guide, "made its way west and the steelhead fishermen grabbed it up." The Book of Fly Patterns by Eric Leiser, published in 1987, describes the Bomber as "one of the most popular salmon dry flies used in Canada."

Bates says that the Bomber is fished "dry, dry and dragging (with a fast skittering motion), or wet with a sinking line." I doubt many Bombers are thrown on sinking lines today, but "dry" and "dry and dragging" are probably as common as ever for Atlantic salmon, and for steelhead.

Then there's the Green Machine, another child of the Miramichi River. Though similar in form to the Bomber—a fat trimmed-hair body with a single hackle spiraled up it—the Green Machine is commonly fished subsurface. It is a member of the Wet Bug line of salmon flies and as Dick Talleur explains in his book The Versatile Fly Tyer, it appears "at first glance to be a dry fly, and it probably could serve as such, but that's not usually how it's fished." He goes on to say that the Wet Bug series is most effective fished "just beneath the surface or in the film."

Yet even if the Bomber and Green Machine are usually fished differently, they have much in common—both were born on the Miramichi, both were designed for Atlantic salmon, both possess plump bodies of flared-and-shaped deer hair bristling with hackle fibers, and both are tied in about the same manner. And, where one has endured, the other promises equal longevity.


    Hook: Slightly heavy to medium wire, up or down eye. 4X long, sizes 8 to 2.

    Thread: Brown or tan 8/0 or 6/0 for the tail, hackle, and wing. Size-A rod-thread for flaring the deer-hair body.

    Tail: Woodchuck guard hair (or substitute calf tail, squirrel tail - any fairly stiff hair.)

    Hackle: One, brown (though I like to bind on two, one as a back-up.)

    Wing: The same hair as you used in the tail.

    Body: Natural deer hair. (All sorts of dyed hair colors - sometimes in contrasting bands - are commonly used.)

    Green Machine:

    Hook: Slightly heavy to medium wire, sizes 8 to 4.

    Thread: Green 8/0 or 6/0 for the tip, tag, and hackle. Size-A rod-thread for body.

    Tip: Fine silver Mylar tinsel.

    Hackle: One, brown (I bind on two, for insurance).

    Body: Medium-green deer hair.

Credits: Morris On Tying Flies by Skip Morris, published by Frank Amato Publications. ~ DLB

Archive of Old Flies

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice