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-seven

Bent-Hackle Fly

Tied and photographed by James G. Birkholm

Bent-Hackle Fly

By LadyFisher

"An unusual fly-pattern so defined by Datus Proper in What the Trout Said (1982). "A large, soft hackle - such as dyed French Partridge - is wound on shiny-side forward, supported by a small, stiff cock's hackle out of sight behind the main hackle. The function of the stiff hackle is purely mechanical; it strengthens the middle of the soft hackle, while the soft tips bend backwards around the point of the hook. The fly floats on the bends of the soft hackle fibers. Nothing at all penetrates the surface film, something difficult to achieve with any other pattern. A good fly flotant helps to keep the soft fibers from soaking up water instantly. At best, however, the bent-hackle fly is suitable for only a few casts over a rising fish - but that should be enough."

This design, decades old, duplicated the French dry flies that wear palmer hackles that support long, soft shoulder hackles. One such pattern, the Plumeaux (Feather Duster), sports a long-barbed, yellow mallard breast feather supported by reddish brown hackles. See French Fishing Flies (1987) by Jean-Paul Pequegnot for other examples." ~ LadyFisher

Credits: Quotes from Fly Fisher's Illustrated Dictionary, by Darrel Martin, published by The Lyons Press, 123 West 18 Street, New York, NY 10011

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