“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


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.

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…