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 Eighty-two

Hand Grenades and Old Trigger

By Old Rupe

We have all had different fishing experiences but the older I get the more I seem to collect. Missing the correct date for the 'run' and bad weather just don't count. It has to be a real event to even merit our attention.

Good fish and great days aren't the things we remember. Neither do we remember the no fish days. It's the sick events of the times that stick in the mind. To be different it has to be really something. In the evening as I gaze into my coal oil lamp I remember some of these different experiences.

I remember a summer around Fresno, California when I worked in a peach packing plant and on my days off I spent fly fishing on a local cold water river. After we would do the fly fishing thing we would retire to a deep water section near a beach and watch the young honeys and wait for a water skier to hit the bridge pilings. It was a small bridge and the pilings were not very far apart. We averaged 2-3 a week. Cold beer, honeys and bridge pilings, what a way to spend a summer. We always clapped for the water skiers. It seemed fitting somehow. I have never voted against small bridges. Somehow in my mind water skiers and bridge pilings just seem to go together.

One year when I docked my boat farther west, Walt and I would spend the evenings on the jetty drinking beer and waiting for the jet skies to hit the unmarked, underwater junk at the harbor mouth. About one a week was the average. We even had a picnic table set up for the event. It was very similar to watching A1E's napalm North Vietnamese mortar positions. Then it was beer 33 and flack jackets. A similar event.

On the Little Manistee I remember a particular stretch where the fly fishers had removed the canoe take-out signs and we would gather there in the evening to watch the canoes just float down to oblivion 3-4 miles below the take out. Some times we had 10 or so to help us cheer. I have to think there is a special place in the afterlife for canoeists. Never re-cycle aluminum.

When I was in Vietnam I fished in this bay. I had a wire stock carbine with a 30 shot clip. I was usually given a wide berth. Once when I was working the shore with my rented boat I had two close explosions that caused me to look for targets. My guide was adamant that I not shoot. It seemed that the way the locals fished was to sit on shore and fish with grenades, they had a jon boat with a kid and a big net to collect the fish. The kid and the locals were lucky. Grenades just seem to bring out the worst in me.

I will never forget the time I was run off the Roy Rodger's water in Michigan's upper peninsula. I guess I had always assumed that Roy would be a good old boy, like in the movies. I should have known. Anyone that would taxidermy old Trigger would do anything.

Gail was probably part of the act.

I could never understand why Gabby Hayes would be associated with them. I thought about sending him a fly or so but just sort of understood that he would have never fished their water on principle.

Gabby I just never appreciated you. Shame on me. I just didn't understand, Trigger was kind of sacred and Roy was a good old boy.

Maybe they should have taught me water ski and personal water craft appreciation in high school. The aluminum hatch should have been reversed.

Gabby, I'll bet you threw a hell of a fly.

I think I'll grow a beard. Old Rupe

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