The Manchester, a bass fly from Charles F. Orvis, was named
for the town of Manchester, Vermont. The Orvis company was
founded there in 1856 and remains in the village to this day.
Mary begins the section concerning this fly with a bit of
a poem she wrote about her home town:
"Only a little village street
So begins Mary Orvis Marbury's small tribute to her home
town of Manchester, Vermont, which can be found in
Favorite Flies and their Histories. She tells
the story of Ethan and Ira Allen, their Green Mountain Boys,
and Manchester's importance in the Revolutionary War.
Throughout her essay, she comes back to the theme that the
town is "only a little village street," but it is clearly,
to her, much more than that. This is born out in her last
Lying along a mountain's side.
I know not, then, why it should bring
Into my eyes such sudden tears.
But unto the mountain's sheltering
The little village seems to cling,
As child, all unaware of fears,
Unconscious that it is caressed,
In perfect peace and perfect rest,
Upon its mother's breast."
"It is a good place "to come back to." We all feel this, and,
realizing that we shall find it ever the same, our hearts turn
towards it amid changes, and in times of trouble or weariness,
and we remember thankfully that the old trees will wave a
welcome, the mountains will steadfastly guard this "fair
countrie," and that where their shadows reach we may find a
I think many of us feel this way about our home towns.
No matter how far you seem to get away, it is a steadfast
rock that you always feel anchors you, and one to which
you will someday return. Here is the recipe for the fly:
This little fly is only a reminder; the yellow and the green
only an emblem of the sunshine that is ever flickering through
these peaceful shades."
Credits: Favorite Flies and their Histories
by Mary Orvis Marbury; Flies by J. Edson Leonard. ~ EA
I started fly fishing as a teen in and around my hometown
of Plattsburgh, New York, primarily on the Saranac River.
I started tying flies almost immediately and spent hours
with library books written by Ray Bergman, Art Lee, and
A. J. McClane. Almost from the beginning I liked tying
just as much as I liked fishing and spent considerable
time at the vise creating hideous monstrosities that
somehow caught fish anyway. Then one day I came upon a
group of flies that had been put out at a local drug store
that had been tied by Francis Betters of Wilmington, N.Y.
My life changed that day and so did my flies, dramatically.
Even though I never met Fran back then, I've always
considered him to be one of my biggest influences.
I had a career in music for twenty years or so and didn't
fish much, though I did fish at times. The band I was with
had its fifteen seconds of fame when we were asked to be in
John Mellencamp's movie "Falling From Grace." I am the
keyboard player on the right in the country club scene in
the middle of the movie. Don't blink. It's on HBO all the
time. We got to meet big Hollywood stars and record in John's
studio. It was a blast.
So how did I wind up contributing to the Just Old Flies
column on FAOL? I'm not sure, it was something that I simply
wanted very badly to do, and they let me. Many of the old flies
take me back to the Adirondacs and my youth, and I guess I get
to relive some of it through the column. I've spent many happy
hours fishing and tying over the years, and tying these flies
brings back memories of great days on the water, and intense
hours spent looking at the flies in the fly plates in the old
books and trying to get my flies to look like them. And now,
here I am, still doing that to this day. ~ EA