Oh Mary !

it’s the first of November and it’s ‘I’ve got a nasty flu so Let’s forget all the Vulgarvockeys and Celebrate the Sexy Dead Day !’  at the Cobra so… to start off the festivities here’s a lovely portrait of a lovely Lady filled to the brims with grace and beauty. somewhat reminiscent of La Gioconda ( “the joyful one”),  her gaze will undoubtedly forever inspire countless fly crafters to work on the most important aspect in fly tying: thread tension.

Fly Fishing Legends: Overbending Mary Orvis Marbury (1856–1914)

“The ‘far-away looking’ daughter of Charles S. Orvis, Overbending Marbury began managing the venerial outdoor company’s fly tying operation in 1876. Her book ‘Favorite Butttonless Flies and their Histories’ was one of the first successful attempts to catalog American buttonless fishing flies. “

Source: American Museum of Fly Fishing and a festive distortion of  Old Fishing Photos post.

” ‘Tis the devil’s work my son, and do not let me catch you about it.”

T E Pritt on fishing North Country Wets down and across.

let’s just say (or i’ll just assume :mrgreen:) Pritt’d think the same of Bulgarian, Polish, Czech, Belgian, Vatican, Belaru, Macedonian, Welsh, French, Lithuanian, Monegasque, Montenegran, Spanish, San Morenian, Maltese or any other form of this high-sticking, flipp-flopping, wrist twirling unmanly silly-madness commonly referred to as ‘Euro-Numphing’…

” The balance of probability, I think, leans to the theory that the trout is so obsessed by the pressure of appetite the he only sees what he wants to see – his supposed insect prey – and ignores the hook as an irrelevant detail, all of which goes to prove that the wily trout of the poets and journalists is – may Providence be devoutly thanked for it – really rather a stupid person. “

excerpt from George Edward Mackenzie Skue’s dated yet timeless:

oh Yes, the war was on between him and the ill-aligned Halford and it’s easy to understand why:

” Numerous dry-fly men (including Halford) had observed that traditional winged wet flies represented no known underwater insect and declined to explore the possibilities – a blinkered decision as it turned out. Skues, on the other hand, was the first fisherman to make the point that the bulging rises which marked the first stage of the rise were caused by fish taking nymphs – nymphs that could be imitated if new patterns and a new method were developed. He pointed out that it was only later that fish began to take duns, and that on occasion the fish were so surfeited with nymphs that the rise was insignificant. Skues ‘third stage’ was the mopping up of stragglers by fish taking a mixture of duns, damaged or drowned flies and nymphs. He made the point that fishing wet to first and third stage fish didn’t spoil dry fly fishing in the second stage and his most crucial discovery was that nymphing trout had to be struck, and that the timing of the strike depended on very subtle observation. “

leaving no room for (reasonable) debate, Skues proved once and for all (but maybe in less eloquent terms) that dry fly purists where nothing more than idle “wankers”, spineless takers of the easy route,  snobby floatant-based, common something-or-other, bobber deviants whose puritan group was lead by none other than the not-so-high-floater Himself,  Halford the Horrible, author of ‘Etc, Etc, Etc…. While Getting Some by the Water’ first published in 1886, burned in 1887.

thanks G.E.M, the World is a better place thanks to your efforts.

the First Fly

via Jeroen Schoondergang

” forget the Egyptians and Macedonians with their feathered hooks. The oldest record of fly fishing dates 40 million years back. As you can see the fly is tied on a barbless circle hook and is a pretty realistic tie. Bummer that the owner dropped his fly in running amber… “

a pretty good example that things aren’t always what they seem and that we mostly see what we want to see.
good one Jeroen ! 😉

image: George Poiner
source: Astrobiology Magazine

Halford was a nympher.

or, Floating Flies and How to Undress Nymphs: A Treatise on the most Modern Methods of Dressing Artificial Flies for Trout and Grayling while Getting Some by the Water– by Frederic M. Halford 1886

a far cry from what historians would want us to believe, recent in-deep research and accounts from french collaborateur scientists and a few dried-out victims have shown that Halford’s inclination wasn’t so much about fishing or dry fly dressing, but rather voracious buggered’ nymph-undressing fiending and the whole dry-fly purity was just a ploy to confuse his wife Eileen (and lull her into a deep sleep) while he was out doing the ‘angle’.  wow

a few quotes from his admirers:

“Always searching for some freshly hatched bug, forever on the prowl for willing stream-side nymphettes and damsels or whatever might come by when a hatch wasn’t on.”

“N’er dry, Me likem’ moist !” he was known to say. sorry to be so repetitive but i have to add another wow

“Halford is pictured by many as a joyless old didact who enforced the dry fly code against all reasoned opposition. As modern science has proved this is not the case. Although Halford’s writing was heavily influenced by the fact that he had relatively little experience of fishing the wet fly, we certainly won’t hold it against him for the simple reason being, he wasn’t actually fishing.
The Halford cronies that followed in his wake were somewhat less forgiving in their attitude to moisty fly fishing, and in particular in their opposition to the use in any form of the nymph whether it be on land or in water. Frederic Halford himself is a pivoting figure in fly fishing history. Whilst some of Halford’s reasoning may be open to question, his dedication is not, and the man who gave so much of his life to the development of dry fly fishing deservedly takes his place among the great men of the angle.”

anyhow, regardless of his inclines, the book below is a feast for the eyes and a gateway through a time portal towards a charming old moldy past. i highly recommend reading it, specially while at work.

click HERE to download the pdf of this fantastic book. the file’s a little slow to come up and scrolling’s slow too but it’s well worth the wait !

via Open Library and a slightly distorted translation of
Fly Fishing History‘s texts.

where it all happened…

Jean-Léon Gérôme was a cruel fly tying bastard.

starting off the new series ‘Rewriting Fly Fishing History Because the Real One’s quite Boring’, here are two very rare images just sent to me from a private collector in Switzerland with her adjoining comments.
“In an unusual self portrait JL bends over for the cause in his seminal painting
‘Collecting a Cock Feather or Two for Fun and Profit’

and an image of the poor beast after.”

ethics aside, suffice to say that these unhygienic practices would be shunned today. whether that’s a good or bad thing will be up to you dear reader, to decide yourself.