My friend Reed Curry from New Hampshire recently made
me aware of an e-book entitled Salmon and Trout
which according to Reed had a "plethora" of old patterns
contained within. That's a "whole bunch" to you and me.
I checked it out, and sure enough, plethora there was.
This pattern I've tied today is one of the bunch, and is
a fly I'd never heard of.
I've done a little research, and did find the same fly
listed in Flies by J. Edson Leonard.
Surprisingly, though Salmon and Trout was
written in 1902, making this fly something of a contemporary
of Mary Orvis Marbury, I could find no reference to it in
Favorite Flies and Their Histories, not even
in the Michigan section. The reason I mention Michigan here
is that I'm quite sure that this fly was used to fish for bass
on Lake Gogebic, which is located in Gogebic County, on the
Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is quite a recreation area,
with fantastic lake fishing, featuring walleye, smallmouth
bass, northern pike, jumbo perch and whitefish. Each year
the Lake Gogebic Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a tagged
fish contest with thousands of dollars in prizes. They are
somewhat serious about their fishing in the U.P.
Salmon and Trout has some very nice tying
instructions in chapter ten, which give considerable insight
into how these flies were tied back in the days of gut "snoods"
or leaders. There is an interesting bit on a reverse method
of doing wings as well. The wing material is tied on pointing
out over the eye of the hook in the very beginning of tying
the fly, and then reversed at the finish. I'm not sure of the
benefit here, but will try it with some mallard wings one of
these days and let you know. They do a Light Montreal as an
example. If you're interested in the old ways, you can check
out chapter ten at http://efishingbooks.com/Sage/ChapterX.php.
So there you have the Gogebic. There are a couple of renditions
of this fly, one with palmered hackle and one without. Here
are the recipes:
From Salmon and Trout:
Tag: Scarlet silk floss
Credits: Salmon and Trout by Dean Sage,
C.H. Townsend, H.M. Smith and William C. Harris;
Flies by J. Edson Leonard; by J. Edson Leonard;
eFishingBooks.com at http://efishingbooks.com/Sage/ChapterX.php
Tail: Scarlet ibis and white
Butt: Black ostrich herl
Body: Yellow, ribbed with fine gold twist
Legs: Scarlet hackle wound from butt to shoulder
Wings: White matched feathers with small ibis on each side
Wing: White, scarlet strips
Body: Yellow floss, scarlet floss tag, gold tip.
Tail: Scarlet and white.
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