"Rediscovering" Old Patterns

#1
Currious what really old patterns you guys still use or have just learned about.

During an early season outing this year I was taking a beating by the skunk. Fishy looking fishable waters and nothing, not even a bump. Out of desperation I tied on a gold ribbed hare's ear. Hadn't fished one of these in years. It was the first fly that I ever caught a fish on and one of the first I ever learned to tie so, on it went. Didn't turn into the best day ever but it shook that skunk off.

The next time out on the water it was the first fly out of the box and it caught fish. Today I had a chance to get out and I tried one with a slight addition, folded over partidge legs under the wing casing. It worked well.

Did a little research and one source states it's one of the oldest flies ever. Don't know about that but the thing catches fish. No idea why I ever stopped using it and wonder what other ancient patterns I'm missing out on.
 

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
#4
Major Pitcher, Parmachene Belle, and Wickham's Fancy still produce on the North Fork of the Big Hole, as do several of the old Pott's patterns Sandy Mite being a perennial favorite. Even if they didn't produce, I'd be remiss if I didn't toss a few of them in memory of my Dad & Uncle.
 

Big E

Active Member
#5
Norm,
I think the passage you quote may be a bit deceptive. Cotton did document quite a bit of imitative flies in the (I believe) 5th edition of the Compleat Angler. If memory serves me correct, I believe he was the first to do so. Most of the flies were tied with hackles and were associated with months or seasons.

In "Ogden on Flytying", he describes a Hare's Ear Blue Dun:

I dress it as follows : Hook No. 2
is a good general size ; body, fur from the hare's ear
spun on fine yellow silk ; three strands of a red cock's
hackle for tails, and a tag of fine gold tinsel. For a
change I use fine yellow silk only, well waxed, for the
body ; wings taken from a starling wing feather. The
wings should be broad and set on very upright, as it is
the most butterfly-like little dun the angler will have to
imitate. After setting on the wings, spin more hare's
ear fur on the silk, and give two turns close up behind
the wings, bringing it well forward underneath ; fasten
off behind the wings, and pick out the dubbin to form
the legs. For a variety, I rib the hare's ear body with
fine gold tinsel or twist, and put on upright wings taken
from a woodcock wing feather.

Ogden notes that this fly is an excellent spring fly and is best fished sunk.

Some years later, Halford in Dry Fly Entomology, gives the recipe for the Gold Rib Hare's Ear which is pretty much the same as Ogden's recipe.

SECTION I.— OLIVE DUNS.
No. 1.— Gold-ribbed Hare's Ear.
Wings. —Medium or dark starling.
Body. —Dark fur from hare's face ribbed with fine flat gold.
Legs. —Dark fur from red.
Hook. —000 to o.
This pattern is placed first of the series as the most successful of modern times. From early spring to late autumn it is one of the most killing of all the duns, and is, besides, preeminently the fly to be recommended for bulging or tailing fish. It is probably taken for the sub-imago emerging from the larval envelope of the nymph just risen to the surface.

In any event, it was good fun revisiting the tomes while having coffee this morning.
 
#6
I don't see much difference between your quotes an the one I quoted. All three are wet flies with quill style wings not the gold ribbed hares ear NYMPH

you would also have to argue the quote with Schwiebert but he's no longer with us
 

Big E

Active Member
#7
I was just musing on the provenance of the GRHE not trying to be argumentative. My apologies if I came off that way.
 

Jack Devlin

Active Member
#9
I never "undiscovered" the Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear. Been fishin' it for 49 years. Probably the only nymph pattern you really need.:) Big, small, light, dark, weighted, unweighted.
Personally, I like all the "old" patterns. I like tying with feathers, hair, and fur and am not overly fond of all the synthetics of today. The "old" patterns still catch fish. Heck, the fish don't know they (patterns) are old.
Jack
 
#14
Major Pitcher, Parmachene Belle, and Wickham's Fancy still produce on the North Fork of the Big Hole, as do several of the old Pott's patterns Sandy Mite being a perennial favorite. Even if they didn't produce, I'd be remiss if I didn't toss a few of them in memory of my Dad & Uncle.
Sad to say I had to google each one of these. I can so see me trying two of these for sure.

Are the "old Pott's patterns" the creations from Franz Pott? Watched a video on weaving moose mane hackle, wow.
 

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
#15
I believe so. Rather than weave my own hair hackle, I weave the body but leave the front portion of the hook bare. Then I spin the hair and groom it back to form the front of the fly. A few strands of horse tail & doubled rod-winding thread work well when creating the woven body; I prefer bear hair for the front end/"hackle." Have fun!