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
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 . .
Just One Trout
By Old Rupe
Archive of Old Flies
I used to try to impress everyone with how many trout I could
catch in a days time. I learned early on an aggressive fly
fisher will always catch more fish than the person who methodically
explores every spot a trout might hold in. Sure the aggressive
fisher missed 80% of the trout present, but in the course of fishing
three to four miles of river he'll pass the fly over enough of those
high percentage "takers" that at the end of the day, if he kept what
he caught, it would look like the local trout clubs total weekend catch.
In fact I would wear the bottoms off one or two pair of waders
a year. If three miles is good then five miles is better. Just hit the
high percentage spots and fish the water. Without a hatch that's
the way to go. Since I knew my rivers fairly well I could generally
predict where the hatches would be and I spent the day going from
hatch to hatch.
I even carried a set of good binoculars with me so I could "glass"
the stretch for risers and not waste time waiting on the non-existent
hatch to materialize.
I never removed my waders. When conditions precluded a hatch
I'd fish a streamer tight against the bank. Five miles of water with
a streamer in the sweepers always produced. Sweepers are a local
Michigan name for those assorted cypress and pines that fall in the
river and provide one with the unique experience of watching big
fish eat little mayflies ten feet back in the tree. In most cases dynamite
would not touch them. I've seen grown men cry watching those
monsters feed, usually the only fish rising on the entire river. No
wonder I resorted to using pruning shears on selected trees. I had
a little foam caddy that would handle 4 rods and hold six beers
and assorted flies and lunch. I got the idea from watching golf
on Sunday. On a walk in guide trip I would work downstream
and hand the client a rigged rod. Try that streamer there, that dry
next to the log and let's do a nymph in the deep run against the bank.
I was really a caddy with four rigged rods. I even had a live well
built into the thing.
My whole act has changed. I haven't guided for years and since
I can hardly drive five miles of river in my truck, let alone walk
it. I have modified my game. The emphasis is on a nice day on
the water. I sometimes fish a 30 foot area all day, working every
fish that rises. In between times I just look at nature. Old men
don't impress anyone, and rarely hurt the fish population. One
of the things I most enjoy is working a "sleeper." That's a fish
which holds in a spot where its really hard to present a fly to him.
I have forgotten many if not most of the fish I've caught over the
years but not the "sleepers." If I can coax one of these bad boys
out then my day is made. Most of the throws which get these trophies
are lucky casts, not the result of any acquired skills or learning.
Sometimes it takes weeks to get him. Some I never have.
I will never forget meeting a younger version of myself on a stream
a couple of years ago. I had just caught a fish that I had worked days
on. When I responded to his question of, "How are you doing?"
I knew he didn't understand. It may be thirty years before he understands
"Just one trout," I replied. ~ Old Rupe
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