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 . .

Part Fourty-nine

The Fishing Trip

By Old Rupe

Several years ago I invited everyone I fished with to a small party at my house. It was a diverse lot. Old Pack who I walleye and cat fish with was there. He caught the biggest fresh water drum I have ever seen on my boat in Lake Erie. He got a state award for it.

Walter was there. Walter's four salmon on a fly rod weighed in at over 120 lbs. A nice days catch. Everything was going well until they started talking about the bad luck trips that I had been on with them.

Walter talked about the bass fishing trip to a southern state where it rained so bad that he had to cover his Jack Daniels glass to prevent it from getting too diluted. A real rain event. At times we couldn't see the shore line 200 feet away but we still fished. It raised the water level four feet. I never shut off my bilge pump all day.

Tim discussed the trip to the Ten Tom where the weather was so bad that the lock master would not permit the opening of the lock due to the small tornado that passed through. Even after the wind event passed the seven foot waves were difficult for my bass boat. When we got in Tim said good bye and fired up his truck and returned home. A five hundred mile trip or better. The trip from the lock to the dock was a serious event. The only way I got in was using the boat like a surf board and riding the waves into the bay. The dock and the associated hardware was 15 to 20 feet up in the parking lot. I finished out the week by myself.

Tom discussed his trip to the same river. A slight cold front preceded us. A two inch snow fall and 40 mile an hour winds set the stage for a great bass fishing trip. Fishing was so tough that the only thing that saved us was the last days fishing. We finally had enough stable weather to catch the bass on the rocks. When we did hit them we had a double limit that other bassers wanted to have their pictures taken with us and the fish. A serious box. Big fish with gloves on.

Rosario talked about the white bass event where the wind was so strong that we couldn't paddle down stream. A totally nasty trip.

My mother contributed a tale about the trip to Honduras and Lake Yojoa where big waves and nasty winds almost got us. After we got back across the lake the wood boat we used sank at the dock.

My wife Nelly remembered the Norfolk Lake trip when the wind was up and she "almost saw God." We took about 40 gallons over the front in my bass boat and she thought that life jackets were really going to be used.

My niece Monica remembered Lake Erie and my bass boat, where I roped everyone together in 5-7 footers and managed to finally get in.

Harold's bass fishing trip was judged the worst by all. It started on a bad note and the song just never got better. The high point was just getting home.

The marina that was preparing the boat for the trip neglected to tell me that they were going to a boat show and would be closed Friday. When Harold and I dropped by to pick up the boat on the way to Santee Cooper and saw the notice I had a such an odd feeling in my chest that the local doctor after some tests put me in the emergency room for the night. No heart attack just so mad my stomach valve "fluttered." After an eight hour stay in the emergency room and a 12 hour delay picking up the boat we were finally on the way. Harold managed to talk me out of shooting the owner.

Santee Cooper was nasty the next day. A front was moving through and the fish were shut off. Cars and trucks from the north had snow and ice on them. The prospect of sleet and rain the next day let me talk Harold into driving eight hours that night into northern Florida to fish Orange Lake the next day.

We arrived the next morning at Orange Lake, just ahead of the killer cold front, and caught no fish. We got a two inch snow forecast for the next day and I managed to convince him that our only salvation was moving south to Lake Okeechobee that evening. Another small drive of six hours. Since high winds were forecast for the next day we decided to fish a smaller lake that my friends there said was currently great. Big lakes and high winds just don't mix.

We arrived at Lake Marion that evening after trying a couple of smaller lakes along the way. We were traveling in my old flower van and had an electric bathroom heater and two extension cords of one hundred feet. Man was it cold. The campground had never faced that kind of temperature and wasn't wired for electric heaters. Those that didn't have heaters spent the night around big communal fires drinking and singing. We hadn't had much sleep the previous two days so I spent the night blowing fuses and trying to plug in a 200 ft extension cord into an outlet that would support a few minutes of low glow heat. I managed to blow all the fuses in a 200 foot circle. If all those other campers knew why their heaters died I wouldn't be here today.

The next morning we found the temperature had dropped to 18 degrees F and formed 1 inches of ice in my splash well. After warming up at a local restaurant for breakfast we put the boat in and Harold hid on the floor of the boat from the cold while we motored out to fish in 25 degree weather. This was over one hundred miles south of Orlando. That morning Key West opened at 34 degrees. We didn't catch a fish. We quit fishing at 12 noon when the wind started to blow. We caught 2 crappies in the marina before we gave up and opened a couple of beers and watched the lake grow eight foot plus waves. It was fun with the boat on the trailer observing waves breaking on the top of palm trees at the windward side of the lake.

We saw this couple in a 21 foot Mako motoring against the waves. All was well until they took a hundred gallons or so over the front. They then ducked into the marina and we drove them around the point to the public marina to get their trailer. When a 21 ft Mako can't make it on the lake, birds shouldn't be out. While we were helping them load the boat in the marina they mentioned the fact that a bass boat with two guys and two old women fishing crappies in a jon boat were trapped in a cove at the windward side of the lake. We told the marina operator and he called an old man that owned a cabin cruiser with a hard top that went down and rescued the two old women. Most of the time his boat was lost from sight due to the size of the waves. The bassers wouldn't leave their high dollar boat and gear.

A person couldn't walk out from there due to the swamp and quicksand. Many beers later we congratulated ourselves on not trying to finish up in that protected cove. We then ate lunch in a local cafe that had an outstanding young girl in a green shirt serving burgers. She was the best thing we had seen in Florida. We had traveled over 1200 miles for two crappies and a look at a young honey in a green shirt. The two old women never knew how close they came to living in that bay for 2-3 days. I hope the bassers finally got out all right.

I have never spent a worse night than that extension cord and worthless heater event. Harold and I slept under newspapers that night. I guess we learned something from the bums in central park.

Maybe I just bring bad weather. Al was it my fault in South Dakota? Ron was it my fault in Pennsylvania? Dave is the Mad River drop my fault? Trap was the bad fishing in New Brunswick my fault? Was Iowa and Lake Seoul my error? Is Lake Erie's three foot drop my fault?

I will accept donations from state and private agencies just to stay home.

Due to demand I have enlarged my mail box to accept the increased mail volume. My bank has warned me I will have to add an additional account as the government will only guarantee $50,000. I may quit my job. All I have to do is wave a fly rod in front of a state map to terrorize the locals.

Someone in Washington has been sending me brochures on great vacations in Iraq. The day of graphite terrorism is upon us.

What you see is what you get. ~ Old Rupe

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