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 . .
Hand Grenades and Old Trigger
By Old Rupe
Archive of Old Flies
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
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
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
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.
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