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 . .
My Home River - Part One
By Old Rupe
Archive of Old Flies
I fish a somewhat spring creek. It's only an hour away and that was the
prime attraction, at first, but over the years I have fallen in love with
her. This river was never an easy stream to fish. Bait fishing is allowed
and I even think encouraged by the State. I suspect that a certain
aversion exists to creating a playground for those elitist fly fishermen.
Few women fish the stream. I don't know why, maybe it's the isolated
stretches where the trout really are that precludes them. It's a frightening
world out there even with my Glock. It is located in a kind of uncivilized
area that doesn't easily match with the fly fishing mind set. It's long necks
and "wurms" and country music. Now those are my roots and that doesn't
bother me, but I can see that some of the women from the high dollar
suburbs might feel ill at ease. I suspect they see a little of the movie
Deliverance in their minds eye.
Bad weather can cause my river to be hateful. I have learned over
the last twenty years or so how to hop around to avoid the cream in
the coffee color a sudden rain event can bring. With a little smart
traveling a person can fish another two hours even under adverse
conditions. I have seen the times where a smart fisherman just parks
under the 36 bridge and watches the river rise. I have seen a three to
four foot rise out of a nasty rain event. There is a moral here. Never
park your truck close to the water, especially in the spring. I have
seen the river up in the cornfields. I will have to admit that I never
fished the cornfields well.
Canoes have always been a problem, but it's like a video game, a
serious wading staff will always save the day.
The bait fishermen fish the deep holes next to the bridges with cheese
and worms. They seem happy to roost there. I fish the two-foot-deep
and shallower water with my dries and nymphs. If they ever learned
to fish a salmon egg on two pound test line under a real small bobber
through the riffles I would do without.
I have a spot that seems to have a hatch every evening. God loves such
a place. I park my truck and wait on the main event. If it doesn't happen
there it just won't happen. I have even brought my aluminum lawn chair and
waited ten feet out in the river with a Fosters. I think that's called
anticipating a hatch. Nothing says you can't wait in a lawn chair.
Tim Heenan and his sharp kids fish it like fish hawks. When I want to
really excel I call Tim and ask him where and how it was done last week.
I don't understand how he can hold a job and fish it like he does. Don't
ask don't tell, I guess.
It can get crowded on the weekends. I can remember the time ten years
or so before when I thought I saw a fly fisherman in the distance and
walked about a half a mile just to meet him. It was a piece of a tree
that had fallen in. I was so disappointed. My how times change. Now
I have to stake out my spot early, and sight of a fly fisherman will
almost guarantee I will pick another spot.
I know where what will happen when, and so I try to be there before
the crowd finds the activity. I have been fooled so often as of late that
I have lost faith in my remembrances. When the river drops one to
two feet during the course of the year whole eco-systems change. I
used to have a milk run where I would go from one high percentage
spot to another never taking off my waders just fishing a short stretch,
sometimes as short as thirty feet, then moving on. The day went like
this. Spot, spot, spot, Graybles for lunch, spot, spot, spot, and the
bridge for the evening hatch. Life is beautiful when all is in its order
and at the end of the day each spot has been hit just right. I would
even hide a can of beer in the water near certain spots because I
knew I would be there in the next day or two and would relish a
cold one. If I had an extra I would spot it and catch it the next day
or two. Some of the spots were a piece off the road. It's easier to
carry out empties.
I had a stretch that I seldom fished. It was owned by an old navy man
who worked stoking coal on American war ships way before I was
born. He had a dog that would catch moles in the yard which he would
save for me. I met him when I ask permission to fish the water. I seldom
fished the water as I would rather talk to him than fish. He seemed to be
a part of each days run. I treasure those visits more than any trout I ever
caught there. I have never fished the water after he died. It wouldn't feel
right. The American people just never understood. What we take for
granted is the result of the life long efforts of patriots like him. Each
time I watch the world events on TV I think of him and each shovel
full of coal he tossed. I'm glad I thanked him for his efforts. When
I knew him he was in his 90's. My meager sacrifices pale by comparison.
Continued next time.
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