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?


Imbrie

Imbrie
By Eric Austin, Ohio


The Imbrie is one of the wet flies presented in Ray Bergman's Trout. I've done the version shown in that book, but the fly predates Trout considerably, and a somewhat different version is shown in Mary Orvis Marbury's Favorite Flies and Their Histories. Here is what she says about the fly:

"The Imbrie was named after and introduced by Mr. Charles F. Imbrie, or the firm of Abbey & Imbrie, fishing-tackle dealers, of New York city. The fly won and has held popularity ever since its first appearance."

You might remember a fly named the Abbey, one named after the other owner of the same company. Abbey and Imbrie took over the business from a previous owner. Details concerning the Abbey can be found here:

features/oldflies/part101.php

Ray Bergman's version of this fly leaves off the golden pheasant crest tail and jungle cock eye shoulders of the original. There is also a third version with a golden pheasant tippet tail and white floss body, one that I discovered in J. Edson Leonard's Flies. The Bergman version appealed to me with its simple elegance, and I chose to do that one. The fact that I was out of jungle cock had absolutely nothing to do with my choice. Honest.

Here are all three recipes:

Ray Bergman

    Tag: Black chenille

    Ribbing: Gold tinsel

    Body: Yellow floss

    Hackle: Brown

    Wing: Slate

    Mary Orvis Marbury

    Tip: Gold tinsel

    Tag: Black chenille

    Tail: Golden pheasant crest

    Ribbing: Gold tinsel

    Body: Yellow floss

    Hackle: Brown

    Wing: Slate

    Shoulder: Jungle cock eye

    J. Edson Leonard Imbrie No. 2 (#1 is the same as Mary Orvis Marbury's)

    Tip: Gold tinsel

    Tail: Golden pheasant tippet

    Ribbing: Gold tinsel

    Body: White floss

    Hackle: Lt. red

    Wing: Slate

    Shoulder: Jungle cock eye

Credits: Trout by Ray Bergman; Flies by J. Edson Leonard; Favorite Flies and Their Histories by Mary Orvis Marbury. ~ EA

About Eric:

Eric 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

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