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 Fifty-four

Norman Rockwell painting, Freedom From Want


By Old Rupe

This year I'm going to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and her husband. I'll drink some beer watch a football game or two and then sneak off to tie a dozen or so flies, and just be thankful.

I can remember the time I used to sleep in the back of my car and miss meals just so I could fish. Those that know me can attest to the fact that I haven't missed many meals lately. Now at least I have a truck with a bed in the back. What more could an old hillbilly want. An old mess kit and a chunk of fat-back bacon to grease up the pan, fly rods and flies and waders and a little time to commune with nature.

I now own fly rods that cost more than my first car. Relax, my first car cost about one hundred dollars. My kid owns tennis shoes that cost more than that. He's now on his own so I don't cry since I'm not buying them. I can remember entire vacations where I never fished catch and release waters or rivers that had restrictive limits. If I didn't catch anything I just didn't eat real well. I can remember setting snares with picture frame wire. Those bunnies sure tasted good. I learned how to run a trot line so that others wouldn't know. I tied the shore side to a cinder block that was sunk two feet deep off the bank. I still like pan fried bologna fried on a river bank with a long neck to wash it down.

I'm not so thankful for the material things I have as I am for the memories. Gosh I have a bunch, and most are good. I even get a laugh from the stupid errors I made along the way. All of the memories were not of fishing events though most of those that readily come to mind are. In the final analysis all we have are memories.

Thanksgiving when I say grace at the table it will not just be for the food but for the memories. A thanks for a wonderful family and the opportunity to do my thing sometimes within my budget, but at least they let me do it.

In this country how can we fail to be thankful for what we have. I'm just barely in the middle class and look at the places I've been able to fish. I've talked to anglers in England that have never been able to fish moving water for trout.

One of my friends from a foreign country recounted tonight that most of his people only had the opportunity to eat meat once a year.

How can Americans not understand how lucky we are? Even our homeless people live better than the average elsewhere. I have been there and seen how it is. Some European countries live well but a lot of the third world places live hand to mouth.

Many countries don't understand the concept of sports fishing. No fish in the skillet means that your family goes hungry.

My friend from Ethiopia couldn't understand why I put good fish back. He was amazed. He said, "This is really a great country. I have never in my country seen a fish returned to a river."

Surely we are fortunate. Catch and release tells how it is.

The American dream is now. ~ Old Rupe

PS. Happy Thanksgiving from me and my family. Count your blessings.

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