Getting lost in Mr Hardy’s lost World

if like me you’re a little befuddled by the present and consterned we can’t go into the future, then maybe a little trip in the past might do the trick and balance things out.
at one hour and thirty-seven minutes long, be sure to set aside the time to see it in full, it’s a nice place to get lost. enjoy !

A (very short) history of Landing Nets

i hope you’re not too excited as the (very short) part of this post’s title should give you a clue that unfortunately and after several hours of research, there isn’t a whole lot available on the subject.
there’s of course the more than obvious dictionary definition with a tentative origin date:
landing net def.

and a few more tidbits such as these-

Izaak Walton and his scholar - 16hundredsomething (those outfits !)
Sir Izaak Walton and his scholar – 16hundredsomething
(those outfits !)
Claes Jansz Visscher - 1630
Claes Jansz Visscher – 1630
BrookesFrontpiece1790
Brookes Frontpiece – 1790

but it was only through The History of Silk, Cotton, Linen, Wool, and Other Fibrous Substances which interestingly enough isn’t credited to any authors… that i was able to back a bit further in scoop-net time to find this sorta-quote from Oppian of Anazarbus, a Greco-Roman poet-dude who lived in the 2nd century. alas !!! (remember, i spent  few hours on and off the landing net topic and this is as exciting as the subject gets)Oppian

apart from a variety of different materials used throughout history to create the basic hoop, bag and handle, very-very little has changed and i guess that even the creative mind will have a hard time improving whats basically perfect as it is. with so many objects/tools/things of all types that could do with a little redo, i really like the idea that this one is something we don’t have to think about.

to finalize today’s mostly useless yet hopefully pleasant history blurb, the image below is an offshoot of a series of images i took of a very traditional and exquisitely hand-made landing net review i’ll publish in the following days.
the historical curiosity, i guess, a direct tactile connotation of having handled, twisted, turned and scrutinized this lovely object/tool. history aside, this one’s easy to pick up but hard to put down…

netmesh m.fauvet-TLC 20-3-16

Fly Fishing Literature: Fishing with the Fly

by Charles F. Orvis – A. Nelson Cheney 1883

fishingwithfly00orvi_0005

” What comfortable satisfaction or foreboding premonitions do you image possess the noble lord while he is taking his recuperative rest in the middle chamber, after passing from his matriculation in the sea ? Faith ! you can almost read his emotions in the slow pulsations of his pectoral fins, and the infliction of his throbbing tail ? Perhaps he shrinks from the barricade of rock and foam before him ; or hesitates to essay the royal arch above the gorge, which reflects in prismatic hues of emblematic glory the mist and mysteries of the unattempted passage.
And his doughty squires around him ; do they share his misgivings, or are they all royal bloods together, sans peur sans reproche, in scale armiture of blue and silver, eager to attain the land of promise and the ultimate degree of revelation ? Ah, the way is indeed beset with difficulties and crucial tests, but its end is joy and fulness of knowledge : and “knowledge is the beginning of life.”

boy that’s schmaltzy but what  great schmaltz !

fishingwithfly00orvi_0007

along with assorted goodies such as: Fly Casting for Salmon, The Angler’s Greeting and close to my heart, Why Peter Went A-Fishing
this isn’t your average collection of angling literature.

fishingwithfly00orvi_0051


there’s also a few of these but the real gems are in word form.
to access the 302 other pages on Internet Archive click either pic. enjoy !

fishingwithfly00orvi_0016

Fly Tying Tutorials- the Silver Invicta

The Invicta was originally known as The Pride of Devon, The Silver Invicta is a variation of the original Invicta fly pattern. The Invicta Caddis wet fly pattern was first mentioned in James Ogden’s book “Ogden on fly tying” which was published in 1879.

that’s 136 years of being a classic fly that not only greatly appeals to fly fishing and tying history buffs but more importantly, to fish. designed to imitate a drowned caddis with its long wing and hackles that imitates legs and a yellow tail to probably imitate eggs, this pattern also works very well as a small bait imitation. primarily designed with still waters in mind used with various retrieves or ‘dead-drifted’ across a wind-swept feeding lane, i’ve had great success with this fly in rivers fished either across with little steady pulls of the line or with the standard ‘down-and-across’ swing.
sure to raise a few hackles from the purists and spurred from the at-the-time reluctance/apprehension i had to try to include matched wing slips to my flies, i’ve had great success by replacing said wing with marabou, fox hair, fine deer hair, swiss straw or simply taking a bunch of fibres from a feather that ‘looks about right’, folding them once or twice and tying the lot on top. although matched wing slips are beautiful at the vise or in the box and are a great way to get a lot of Facebook likes… i’m personally convinced they offer no ‘fishable’ advantage as they’ll just get matted and out of that lovely shape once wet and specially after a fish or two have nibbled on it for a bit.

as always with Davie McPhail’s tutorials, today’s treat not only shows how to tie this lovely Invicta properly but there’s also several tying tips and tricks that transfer over to many-many other patterns. enjoy !

 

When asked why she tied flies she replied, “Because they’re pretty”

“In a cottage in northern Scotland, Megan Boyd twirled bits of feather, fur, silver and gold into elaborate fishing flies – at once miniature works of art and absolutely lethal. Wherever men and women cast their lines for the mighty Atlantic salmon, her name is whispered in mythic reverence and stories about her surface and swirl like fairy tales.

With breathtaking cinematography and expressive, hand-painted animation, this film both adheres to and escapes from traditional documentary form, spinning the facts and fictions of one woman’s life into a stunning meditation on solitude, love, and its illusions.”

Kiss the Water, embrace the beauty. this one’s more than special.
reserve yourself an hour and be sure to watch it in full screen HD. enjoy !

EDIT– sorry folks, the video has been removed.
hopefully its replacement will be available soon. stay tuned !

Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice

dryflyfishing cover halfordanother doozy from the infamous “Detached Badger of “The Field” *,  Frederic Michael Halford, first printed in 1889 via openlibrary.org

while all of us in the Northern Hemisphere are secretly hating all those that aren’t, impatiently waiting for open waters and better days… here’s a more than amusing and informative and oh boy, once again reminder that while certain details have changed through fly fishing history, the bigger picture hasn’t evolved that much.

a few tidbits-

reels

rod action

changing

rod length
and if those don’t get your interest, this one on rod-holding ‘butt spears’ should do the trick.

butt spears

click either text/image to access the complete 400 or so page book. its well worth the read, besides, well, its well worth the read.
the guy sure had a lot to say about everything one might want to know and then more. enjoy !

* please don’t ask. i have no idea and i really don’t want to know.

Floating Flies and How to Dress Them

by Fredric M. Halford 1886 via Thefishingmuseum.org

halford 1

cold, depressed by closed rivers and the oncoming xmas onslaught ? here’s a little something that should distract you for at least a little while. regular readers will already know of my lack of affection for this Halford character but that doesn’t mean that he was all bad. the book is after all a classic and well worth the read, specially at work or hidden away in a back room during family festivities.

halford 2

see ? anyone that says grayling are silly can’t be all bad. click either image to access the complete online book. enjoy !

old salts

by Michael Marshall and The American Museum of Fly Fishing

a very interesting eighteen minutes with some of the most renowned saltwater fly fishers both past and present.
full of anecdotes, history and a lot of wrinkled charm, this is well worth the watch. enjoy !

“ALL HAIL THE BLACK PRINCE !!!

if you got here via a skull & bones/sucky music worshipping-type freak search go headbang elsewhere.

on the other hand, if you’re interested in the re-vamping of historical flies and beauty on a hook read the few excerpts below !

“The Black Prince wet fly is an old pattern. It is shown on the Lake Flies in Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, by Mary Orvis Marbury. It is also in Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman. It was a popular pattern and has appeared in other publications as well. The Orvis version has a body made entirely of flat gold tinsel, while the later version in Trout sports a black floss body with a gold tinsel ribbing. Both have red tails, the version in Marbury’s book also has a jungle cock cheek.”
black-prince Don Bastian
“Like so many classic wet flies, trout do not see them, and one ace-in-the-hole trick you can tuck up your sleeve is to hit the water with something different than what everyone else is fishing. How about the Black Prince?”

those being the opening and closing lines of yet another great page on Don Bastion‘s Wet Fly blog, click His Majesty for the complete article, materials list and more on this classic fly’s history. enjoy !

Fly Fishing Literature- G E M Skues The Man of the Nymph

‘The Man of the Nymph”. if the title alone isn’t just the sexiest thing ever than i don’t know what is !
piscatorial lasciviousness aside, check out the video. Hayter’s enthusiasm gives me the idea that this book’s a winner.

“The long awaited definitive biography of a fly fishing icon. Written with a rare authority by Tony Hayter one of our foremost angling historians, and published by Robert Hale Ltd. We had the honour to film the book launch at the Grosvenor Hotel, Stockbridge, Hampshire, and conduct an interview with the author.

This video contains clips from the launch and excerpts from the interview” enjoy !

Pierre Miramont – Papy fait mouche.

i know full well that most of you don’t understand french and for once that’s a real shame as this wonderful little film on Pierre Miramont is about as good as it gets.
although he died a while back, Pierre is still a leading figure and a great inspiration on everything fly fishing in France. author, half artist/half poet/half chocolate and pastry maker/half fly tier/half entomologist/half fisher, he knew how to combine all of that while sharing the good word and and enticing folks of all ages to enjoy our activity.
merci Pierre, i would have liked to meet you.

201204061688tpmmiramont4

with Michel Flenet, world renowned fly tier pmiramont0

at almost an hour long, here’s a little time machine sequence full of magic. enjoy !

Frank Sawyer Catches a Fish

and a pretty nice one too.
i kinda get the feeling that this lovely fish didn’t get to back to its waterhome but here’s one of the extremely few films we have left of Frank Sawyer fishing a chalkstream, maybe even where he worked.
as a bonus to the fishy stuff we’ll notice that the guy had very good casting wrist control. a nice little reminder that proper form isn’t anything new.

this is a real treat, enjoy !

Greenwell’s Glory: The History of a Classic Fly

via A fly Fishing History by Dr. Andrew N. Herd

greenwell

There are all sorts of variations on the story of how the first Greenwell’s Glory came to be tied, but there is no doubt that it was the invention of Canon William Greenwell of Durham, pictured above in his later years. In his early teens, Greenwell learned to fish on the Browney, a tiny beck which winds its way into the Wear within a few miles of where I am writing this article. Our hero was a mere whipper-snapper of thirty-three when he travelled up to Scotland with the Durham Rangers fishing club to their waters at Sprouston and at Henderside on the Tweed, and it was at Sprouston where the idea for the fly came to him. The canon had had a rather thin day’s fishing one day in May when the water was alive with March Browns, but the fish were to determined to take another fly which he couldn’t recognise. Make a careful note of Greenwell’s thoughts:

‘ I caught some of them, and came to the conclusion that the best imitation would be the inside of a blackbird’s wing, with a body of red and black hackle, tied with yellow silk. ‘

greenwell0

It just goes to show how they were conditioned to think in those far off days, because here were the fish rising to take insects on the surface, and yet the canon came up with a classic design for a fly – perfect in every way, but designed to be fished wet. Of course, dry fly fishing was only in its infancy in 1854 and capable fisherman though he was, Greenwell was no revolutionary. So he took his ideas along to Jimmy Wright’s humble abode and told him what was needed. Wright already was the best-known fly tyer on the Tweed and it sounds like he must have been a bit sceptical at first about the new pattern, but he soon changed his mind:

‘ Next day I had as fine a day’s sport as I ever remember, and going, on my return, to James Wright, he asked me what success I had had. I told him I had filled my creel. ‘Why’, he said, ‘but your creel holds 32 lb.’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but I have got my pockets full as well.’ ‘Wonderful!’ he said, ‘with March Brown, no doubt.’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘almost all on the new fly. Dress me another dozen for to-morrow… ‘


apart from the vision of creels and pockets stuffed with dead fish… this is cool stuff.
i can’t get enough of these old finds because they continually remind me of all the things we think we discovered recently, but where already known hundreds of years ago…
click either pic for the complete article. enjoy !

a clip-on fly body.

absofrigginlutely brilliant !
clip-on fly TLC 14-11-13

the actual fly is tied on the B-C stem and then it seems to be clipped on to the hook once the silk tippet is tied in.
of a completely different concept but closely resembling the hook-changing possibilities we have with tube flies this is bloody ingenious and something the creative tier might want to experiment with.  since we’re mostly using modern hooks with eyes, my thoughts are we needn’t bother with making clips as the stem can be simply tied in fore and aft and easily trimmed off later if needed. this also brings up ideas of being able to quickly change foam bodies or other softy materials that easily get munched to bits after a few fish but i’m sure we can think of a lot of other uses.
a little research hasn’t shown whether Upton’s patent was a lucrative one or not but this deserves some special attention. be sure to pass on his name if you give this style a go.

(more HERE on the history of hook eyes and the beginnings of the tying vise) 

American Trout-Stream Insects

by Louis Rhead 1914 via OpenLibrary
Am. trout-stream insects TLC 8-11-13
without a doubt we can be pretty sure that hatch timetables and even bug species in the last ninety-nine years have come to be inexistent in some areas while others have taken their place, we’re still left with an enormous wealth of information regarding river-side insect life and how to put this to good use.
geared towards U.S. rivers, anglers from around the world will find similarities and usefulness for their own waters. besides, i’m not sure it really matters, it’s a great read regardless and maybe a reminder that bugs is bugs and fishes is fishes and fly fishing hasn’t changed all that much and there’s still a lot to learn from the past.
americantroutstr00rhearich_0053the many hand-drawn plates created by the author back up all the groovy buggy-fishy info with beauty, further sharing the notion that it’s not just a matter of fish food and catching fish but of creatures to be admired on their own and thank you Mr Rhead for that.
americantroutstr00rhearich_0001
click either image for 177 pages of old school coolness online or HERE to download PDF, Kindle and others to enjoy this offline.

How to Dress It and How to Use It.

not much to not like with a title like that..,
Salmon Fly-dressit, use it
but with topics such as: Underwater Experiments, The ‘Instrument of Satisfaction’ (my favourite !),  Diagnosis of Flies, Symmetry of Flies, The ‘Line-of-Pull’, Holding the Hook (tying these lovely flies by hand) and gorgeous plates like this, that it’s kinda turned into a love affair.

salmonflyhowtodr00kelsrich_0055
this one’s a really special find that i hope you’ll enjoy as much as i did. click either pic to access the complete 510 page book online on OpenLibrary or HERE to download it in pdf file or Kindle and other nifty ways to read it later when offline.

How to Tie Flies without saying a word.

from How to Tie Flies by E. C. Gregg, 1940

From How to Tie Flies, by E. C. Gregg, 1940

and if you think that’s cool and want more, click the pic to access the complete book on gutenberg.org. enjoy !

Making it float

in yet another reminder of just how much ‘we’ve got it good’, here’s a more than interesting article on the long-ago development of floating fly lines and flies via The Fishing Museum Online.
i’ve selected a few amusing tidbits for you here but be sure to click on the tub of deer fat for the full article. enjoy !

bennetfink_fly_oiler_01

“When anglers used relatively short lines – the vast majority of flies were fished less than twenty feet from the rod tip until the end of the 18th century – there wasn’t much need to make flies float, because they could literally be dangled on, or just under the surface. However, when longer braided lines came along and, in particular, when anglers made the move to silk lines, their tackle began to sink, dragging the fly under with it and so all kinds of ingenuity had to be applied to making it stay on the surface.”

“In the end, the tackle manufacturers stepped in and firms like Hardy’s and dealers like Chalkley started selling red deer fat, which was rubbed onto silk lines using a cloth.

Deer fat tinNeedless to say, some anglers objected to the idea of having to carry a stinking cloth dripping with rancid fat around in their pockets…”

“Another popular method of treating a fly so that it would float was to dissolve Vaseline in petrol; the artificial was dipped in the solution, and the petrol left to evaporate, leaving the fly coated in the gel. Once this method was perfected, the stage was set for a mini-golden age of dry fly gizmos, designed to paint, spray, or drizzle paraffin onto flies, without the risk of unplanned escapes (paraffin soaked clothes being a serious fire risk in an age when smoking was far more common than it is now). The ingenuity behind the design of some of these devices has to be seen to be believed, although there are one or two which were simply too clever for their own good – and although they were manufactured in quantity, few remain, perhaps because the majority of their owners flung them into the river in disgust. As an example we give you the ferociously complicated Illingworth oiler, most of which survive without their internal mechanisms, which, with few exceptions sprang to freedom long ago.”

the earliest flies ?

via The Eclectic Angler

” The earliest record of fly fishing in the known western literature is from Greece in the second century AD. Aelian’s “Natural History” described not only fishing with a fly but presented the first written fly pattern, translated here as “They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax.” Andrew Marshall tied the four flies in this photo as possible alternatives to the fly described by Aelian. If you are interested in early flies and fly tying, then you need to pre-order a copy of Andrew’s “The History and Evolution of the Trout Fly”! “

early flies eclectic anglerthe first thing that popped into my mind after reading this comment and then seeing these flies is, apart from the silk tippet (and disregarding the use of an obviously modern/contemporary barbed hook), the basic designs could have been created yesterday and not nineteen centuries ago: leaving a somewhat droopy-strange feeling that not a whole lot has happened in the fly tying world since, at least not with your average trout-type flies.

for sure, more recent times have shown us some very unique and creative uses of feathers, such as Roy Christie’s Reversed Parachute style to name just one but the basics are pretty much covered in Marshal’s recreations above.  this also brings up questions like, was dubbing applied in say, the conventional twisted-around-the tying-thread method ? or simply lashed on Cro Magnon style and letting the loose bits roam free ?

is this telling us that trout haven’t evolved since those times and that our continuous need to reinvent the wheel by creating billions of fly tying materials and patterns is nothing but a pipe dream ?
so many questions !  (that only a pure geek could possibly care about… ) but this geek is looking forward to reading this upcoming book. i can’t find any reference to it on their site so, all of this might just be a (geek’s pipe) dream but by clicking the pic you can access Eclectic’s page and check out some pretty cool assemble-at-home reel kits and other out-of-the-box goodies. maybe if we pester them enough they’ll give us a little more info on when this book will be available. i hear that reel-makers are easily intimidated besides, pestering’s always fun…

“The Essentials of a Good Fly-Hook: The temper of an angel and penetration of a prophet; fine enough to be invisible and strong enough to kill a bull in a ten-acre field.”

~ G.S. Marryat

Maryatt

it’s funny, every once in a while i feel the need to do some Halford-bashing.
of course, i can’t help but feel sorry for poor Eileen but TheLimpCobra isn’t about attempting to solve marriage issues: if anything, it’s about celebrating fly fishing in all it’s forms and not imposing simple-minded, self-glorifying rules like Halford the Horrid did with his chalkstream-upstream-dry-fly-only ethos which he deeply impressed into the gullible minds of the tweed-worshiping simple-minded of his era: dry fly purists…
now, had those ideas of ‘purity’ stayed in the past we could just read about it say, when the dishes are done and we really don’t have anything better to do, and just smirk about it all. but ! just about everywhere i go, i’ll regularly get the born-again dry-fly-only preaching and guess what ? not only is it mind-numbing boring beyond belief but only a fraction of them have heard of and much less read from the Halford so all this ‘purity’ is ‘handed-down purity’ handed down by the tweed-worshiping buffoons mentioned earlier. the bastard just won’t die.
sure, the neo-purists have replaced the tweed by recycled synthetics and a lot have had the ‘Dry or Die’ credo tattooed (sorta like permanent bumper stickers) somewhere on their bodies for all to see,'dry or die' tat Jon Hson

but even if they might drive a sensible automobile and banned french fries from their menus, the fly fishing part of the brain hasn’t evolved. the blinders are still on but those blinders are good for the rest of us because, while they’re sitting there looking upstream for weeks and weeks dreaming and waiting for a Danica hatch, we get to go chuck bad-ass streamers and stuff, catch the big ones and spook the pools before the hatch even begins. ok, all that sounds a tad intolerant and maybe a little unsocial but it sure is fun !

anyhow back to Marryat. in what’s yet another chalked-up point against the over-popularized, Anti-Cobran Frederic M. Halford, here’s further proof of his…, ummm, ahhh, just fill in the blanks yourself, i’ve insulted him enough for today.
“Halford’s first work, Floating Flies and How to Dress Them, was published in 1886. Halford tells the reader that he drew heavily on Marryat’s natural talent and experience and he never made any secret of the fact that he wanted Marryat to be joint author, but the latter, ever keen on avoiding the limelight, declined. The extent of Marryat’s influence on Floating Flies can only be guessed at, but it must have been immense, given that Halford had comparatively little experience of fly-tying techniques – and, ironically, of fishing the Mayfly – at that stage. Indeed, in those early days, the majority of what Halford knew about fly tying was learned from Marryat. Dr. Thomas Sanctuary said, for example, that the idea of tying dry flies with paired upright wings was Marryat’s, rather than Halford’s, and although this was actually a much older idea, it shows how little Halford knew about fly design at the time of the pair’s first meeting.”

Marryat was a complete angler, one who was hungry to know. (and a wearer of fine hats) click the pic for the complete article on Thefishingmuseum online.