Many fancy flies resemble nothing in nature

by Fly Fisherman

As we mentioned before in other articles, many fancy flies resemble nothing in nature. The outstanding examples of this are the old type salmon flies, the steelhead flies and in trout flies one well-known fly is the Royal Coachman. This fly has been a leader since 1878. Until we think like or experience a like instinct of the fish we will never know for sure what they see in this attractor fly. The increasingly popular “Variant” tied flies, which are coming into their own more and more at this date, actually were developed over 100  years ago by Dr. William Baigent of England.

The Gordon Quill is over 50 years old. The Cahill is over 70 years old. The Hendrickson was tied first about 1916. Those flies have stood the test of time and are among the first ten with the great majority of expert and experienced fishermen. Our youngest fly, which is destined according to a consensus of leading sportsmen to rank with those flies mentioned, is Leonard Halladay’s Adams. The Adams was created in 1922. There are, we hope, “local patterns” in use now that will become as great after they have been put through the mill for a few years and found not wanting. With few exceptions great flies were based, not on the imagination of the creator, but were designed as his effort to simulate a “natural” the way he thinks a fish likes to see it.

Anyone can tie just anything on a hook merely to have a different pattern or to make a so-called good looking fly. This is the distinguishing mark of the rank amateur. Don’t do it! There will be times, however, after a long session of tedious production of regular patterns when, to take off the pressure it is advisable to go all out on a crazy concoction. Do it with intent to see how far off the beam you can get. It will relieve you but it probably won’t be an original. Halford, Hardy, Hewett or Haily, no doubt, tied the same pattern back in 1880 or thereabouts for the same reason you did.

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