This thread has been educational and inspiring for me. However, I'm so slow at tying, that I can barely get past tying up a few for my own immediate needs.
Some of those older patterns, and many more interesting ones can be found in Les Johnson's first book about fishing for Coastal Cutthroat:
How To Fish For: Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout, by Les Johnson, originally published by Frank Amato Publications back in 1979, with a second printing in 1988.
When I picked up the last new copy that was for sale in Water's West several years ago, I was told that the book is out of print.
Les also discusses fishing with a spinning rod and conventional gear, but the color plates of the flies along with the accompanying recipes are well worth the cost of the book.
If you can pick up a good used copy, I'd go for it!
My childhood fly tying reference book was Family Circles Guide to Trout Flies.
I would play sick just so I could stay home from school and tie new patterns from this book. My fly fishing obsessions started when I was in fifth grade. I had a list a mile long of tying materials I was on the hunt for but had to make many substitutions as a kid. Growing up in farming/ranching country many of my neighbors raised various species of birds. I was allowed to scour to coops in search of the right kind of feathers. I am sure glad I don't have to do that anymore.
I am still looking for those old classics that will work as well as our modern imitative patterns to add some flavor and charm to my stuffed fly boxes. Sometimes, I like to fish with pair a classic fly with a vintage cane rod and an 80 year old Hardy Perfect. Some old classics that have never gone away - depending on what constitutes "old" and "classic" and geographical location - are flies like the Prince Nymph or Hares Ear Nymph. I don't see too many people fussing about the Alaxanrda, but it is a serious contender for the title of Prince in my fly box, perhaps, the title of Princess is more apropos. It's one of those flies that is attractive to the angler is it is a fish catcher.
Alexandra for sea run cutthroat.
I decided to whip up a few of Red Quills - Catskill classic - to throw into my fly box in case I encounter the fall Paraleptophlebia hatch on the Deschutes. Of course, the proportions on this fly are wrong for a catskill fly, as the tail is too thick, the hackle too wide and the hook too short. This is a western proportioned dry fly.
I saw that the Stove Pipe has already been featured. I too, am of the "Stove Pipe Generation" of Metolius anglers that will remember when the General Store sold this fly as if it was manna from heaven. The technique for fishing it was also very odd as the fly was cast downstream, rod tip submerged to the substrate and the fly slowly retrieved upstream against the current. I think I was being had by an old fart that claimed this was the way to fish it.
Hmmmm..... I only detect 4 wraps of ribbing. Everybody knows the tying elite have edicted 5 turns of ribbing to be proper. This one cannot be fished with a bamboo rod nor wearing tweeds. It is a very nice wet fly.
Thus my saying one of the many variations. I tie Careys also, and more frequently these days, with the pheasant body and no rib at all. A Carey, per Patricks book, can be just damn near anything, except I see the error in my ways in that I have completely omitted the tail. Hm... yeah. Omitted the tail. Oh well... page 5 of Pacific Northwest Fly Patterns.
By the way, I started tying this variation in pheasant tail really pure and simple with pheasant tail body and india hen hackle because it looked just like an old fly of my grandpa's that I have in a piece of cork. Maybe the tail fibers disintegrated over time and broke off, as they often do. I have a really old Professor with no tail for the same reason.
One of the sayings I have perhaps coined as I've started to tie and fish classics is, "fish have no sense of fashion." They eat old classics that are natural colors and have only the right shape and movement just as well as the eat a purple haze.
They may not have a sense of fashion but certainly they have a well developed sense of style. As you pointed out, as often as not one only needs to appeal to the overall style (shape and movement) to attract them. I've never used a purple haze, at least not for fishing but I'm sure they would work.
Lol! But back on topic, I like your Carey version. It has a ye olde look to it. Its hard to beat basic peacock and mottled hackle with or without ribs, tails, or any other parts. I tie many variations using those two basic materials. I name them all insert-the-name-of-a-favorite-lake-here Special.
I've done this so many times I can no longer remember which is which. If someone looks at one and says "is that the calligan lake special" I just say yes.