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 . .
Turned Around Two
By Old Rupe
Archive of Old Flies
I hate to always quote poetry but poets just seem to say an
idea so well that I just can't forget it. It churns around in my
brain for years, sometimes until I equate it with the reality I
see. How come they are so smart? I was reading Thoreau a while back
at the lake. It's best read by a coal oil lamp which I use to read
by late at night. Something about the flickering flame lends itself
to reflection. The two line bit of wisdom that stuck in my mind was:
A man needs only to be turned around once
with his eyes shut in this world to be lost.
Fly fisherman seem to have been turned around more than just once.
High dollar equipment has been touted as a necessity. Image has
been glorified and held in higher regard than the fun of fishing.
There is a competitive spirit instilled even into beginners that
almost requires a person to glance around to see who saw him
catch that nice fish. Image is becoming all. Such a sad thing. I
bought a $24 dollar vice the other day on the Internet, that
included shipping and handling. A good line and one of the
many one hundred dollar rods or cheaper ones with a leader
tying kit puts a serious fisher out there loaded for whatever
trout he might come up against.
I've spent more than most on rods and reels and vises, but I
realize that it's not a necessity to be able to pursue the sport.
I have them because I just enjoy having them. Maybe I'm
influenced too by the hype that drives us all. How much of
that enjoyment is generated by the fly fishing establishment
I'll probably never realize. Is there no sanity left in the fly
Everyone is teaching a class on some phase of fly fishing at
$650 or so for 2 days plus food and lodging. The last time I
was asked to show someone what little I knew, I spent 7-8 days
explaining the sport I love and showing him how to fish. I think
I even bought the beer.
Waders that leak and vises that won't hold a hook or rods that
self destruct after a day or two on the stream won't hack it, but
they are becoming harder to find. Most of the stuff out there
really works. Sure I like fine things more than most but deep
down I realize that they are not a necessity.
What is necessary is a commitment to excellence, whether it is
in tying, casting, fishing, or life.
I am my own toughest judge. I really know my act. I may try to
gloss it over but deep down I know where I have succeeded and
where I have faltered. I may not do better but its not because I
don't know. We are all lazy, and attack our sport to the level
that we can live with. It's not necessary to mortgage the house
to enjoy fly fishing, though I've spent my share. The rods I made
20 years ago would have provided all the sport I needed, even
Do we really need the best whatever at 4-8 hundred a pop? I'm
trying to resist the acquisition thing. It's worse than quitting
smoking. Last September I failed to register for a chance to win
a fine bamboo rod here on FAOL because I had all the rods I needed.
Even in my state where fly fishing for trout is a limited thing
there is enough good trout fishing to last me a lifetime. One
of those hard old trout from the Mad River is worth fifty from
some remote under fished river. I've probably taken my last
exotic trip. I can't give up the AuSable in Michigan but that's
almost in my back yard.
One of the advantages of growing old is that it gives a person
time to define himself. I have finally decided where I really like
to fish and how, what flies I really enjoy tying and have allocated
time to finally get to read some books I bought and just never
seemed to have a chance to read.
I'm still lost. I was really turned around. There may be hope
for me yet. Yesterday I think I finally saw the way home.
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