A Moral Dilemma (Moved from Bonefish Board) [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: A Moral Dilemma (Moved from Bonefish Board)

11-27-2003, 08:18 PM
Quoted from Capt. Mel Simpson in thread Tarpon Hackles -

"Your comments about where the "Keys" style or Homer Rhode style tarpon flies came from is a real issue with me. Too often so called "Flyfishing Celebrities" grab fame for flies they virtually stole from someone else. And if you look at any publication today you'll see tyers doing the same thing."

This raises a moral dilemma in that while it is very true that others are taking existing flies, making changes and calling the fly their own, this raises the question of whether it is better to let sleeping dogs lie or start a controversy.

This is a sore spot with me as well and I do get to preaching and get on my soap box about this issue. This post is a prime example.

It is sort of like asking when a Deceiver is not a Deceiver. The Deceiver is a STYLE of tying and not a particualr pattern. If you change the material used for the collar but the overall style is still the Deceiver style, then you still have a Deceiver. If you add prismatic eyes and make the fly larger, it is STILL a Deceiver.

From personal experience, I know that my Epoxy charlie was copied by two well known individuals and they put their name to it. I called one of them about it and was told that he used a different material for the underbody so it was his fly. Whaat he failed to realize is that initially, I used that material and through a process of trial and error came to use the material that is currently used. this is another example of a fly style.

If we go around and start naming names, we are going to do more harm to our art/sport than trying more subtle ways.

This is the avenue that I am taking on my web site. I have started a section called "The Classics" and am in the process of documenting (to the best of my ability), the original dressing and history of these flies. Some I already know and others will require some research. Several well known people are helping in this endeavor and then we will have a basis to make our comments, not that we do not already have some basis.

It is really a shame that people have lost their sense of morality in fly tying. At one time, fly fishers/tyers were some of the most moral people aroound. There are still some and it has surprised me that even some of the newer tyers have a sense of morality.

The almighty dollar and instant fame are, in my opinion, the driving forces behind this loss of morality. What these people do not understand is that eventually, short term fame will bring long term resentment and destroy what they set out to achieve.

When I got really involved in fly tying, I was counselled to always do certain things and the biggest no no was to take credit for someone elses work. I have tried to hold this counsel. While I do take a fly style and change it, adapt it or otherwise make a variation of it, I always notate that this is my variation of that particular fly.

John Morin and I are on a mission to have a documented source for as many of the "Classics of Saltwater" and even some of the newer flies. While we have a seperate section on the "Classics" I try and put in the history of any fly that is submitted to my site.

Is there anyway to stop this theivery? In one word - no. As long as people seek fame and others, to include some of the larger companies, do not put a stop to it, it will continue and grow even worse.

Again, I guess we could boycott these individuals but what is that going to gain anyone. It might make a statement but..............

I do believe that some of these individuals need to be brought to everyone's attention but for anyone involved as I am in fly tying, I would be cutting my nose off to spite my face.

Maybe there will be someone that reads this and decides that this needs to be brought out.

Ask most people about the Merkin and they will say that Del Brown designed the fly. Guess what, that is not correct. Del Brown took the original design, modified it, publicized it andnow has credit for it. It was a Jan Isley design and he used Hallmark yarn for the first ones. Even Del said and wrote that it was not his original design but very few people know this little bit of history. When I talked to Jan about it, he made no big deal out of it.

Bob Nauheim originated the Crazy Charlie (Nasty Charlie to actually be correct) and to this day, I do not know of any company that sells flies wholesale that has ever given him either credit or paid him a royality. Heck of a note for the best known bonefish fly around.

Ok, I will quit for now and step down from my soap box. Maybe this will get some people to thinking and they will investigate the histories of some of these flies.

11-27-2003, 10:14 PM
You've hit a number of nails squarely on their heads...

Some 6 months ago I started playing around with a fly "concept".
I'd been thinking about a certain presentation and problems to overcome to achieve a desired result...Catchin' big Stripes in narrow weedie estuaries with a weedless herring pattern of my own invention...So it goes!?
I'll be the first to admit that I've never been strong on "research" and I tend to restrict "opportunities" to influence my tying when I'm trying for an "original" design. With that in mind...
There are just so many "original" ways to hang fur and feathers on a hook!

I came up with a few interesting flys that proceeded to catch fish (never got to use them on the PharSide of the canal but caugh a few Albies out'a Harkers).
I'm pleased and proud and post AND give it a NAME one on this Forum...'Like I had invented the wheel and/or pennicillin!?
Low and behold...several days later I stumble upon some of Capt Stan's creations (on another site) that are very much similar to mine/mine to his. YIKES! :eyecrazy:

I had fallen victim to wanting to be a BigShot by tying & naming an "original"...Mr Naive! I was very disappointed in myself and quite mortified...I sent off an apology to the good Capt and resigned from my monitors position...To me, this was a big deal!

One of my "pet peeves" has been the "stardom" sought by so many near-do-wells who thrive on contrived accomplishments and who are accepted by their non-questioning adoring fans...a few names come to mind but I'll not go there now...(ply me with a few drinks and all bets are off)..."Experts" all...in their own minds and they've been able to do a good job of convincing others who, like sheep, are eager to and enjoy following.

After contemplation and introspection I've decided that the flys I tyed were, in fact, quite unlike anything I'd done before and "original" FOR ME...but NOT for the tying community.
Nice flys? SURE! But...I shouldn't have been so quick to claim them for my own...Shoulda' researched or asked around...
From now on everything that comes off my bench will ONLY be flys tied by ME...No names...Intended for personal use and enjoyment...FAME FREE... Any similarity to any other fly will be strictly coincidental and may even be unintentional!:eek:

Joe, thanks for sucha thought provoking post! Your site looks great and if you can harness even a small %% of Johnny Scissorhandz energy and enthusiasm you will have a tour d' force! REGARDS!

I am once again stepping down off my soapbox...
It must be time for my meds?!


11-27-2003, 10:54 PM

I wouold not be too hard on myself if I were you. We have all had, I think, that happen to them. It cetainly did to me. I came up with, what I thought was, a great little fly for fishing in the Pan Handle of Fl. It was called the Rainbow Minnow and I was selling them as fast as I could tie them. Once I knew it was a winner, I sent some to Lefty and found out that Lou Tabory had made a fly that was almost identical to it some years back. Oh well, try again. I sill tie that fly, still call it the Rainbow Minnow but do not have my name on it. Honest mistakes happen.

I can understand why lots of tyers do not publicize their flies. Here are two suggestions.thoughts. #1 - If you came up with variation of a fly, name it but put that it is your variation. You get credit for the variation but not the original fly. #2 - I feel that we should share with others and even if you do not name the fly or say that it is your variation, if it is a variation and it works well, then tell everyone. Granted, someone may steal the idea and take credit for it BUT if you have publicized it first, at least you and some of your friends will know where it came from and THEN you can, if you so desire, have documentation if you ever want to argue a fly's origination with anyone.

I was told to document everything and try and get as much out to the public as possible.

I feel that you do not have to be an originator of any fly to become well known in the fly tying field. You can achieve that in other ways like teaching, writing etc. There is more than one way to skin a cat and a lot of them are more honest than originating new flies.

About the only thing that I do now is take a certain fly style and try and adapt it to saltwater. I am more interested in my web site than I am about trying to tie new flies. It is easier on me and I enjoy being able to bring what I have to offer to others.

Hopefully I can get some others to help some with the site. John Morin is helping a lot and Don Coleman has given me over 37 pages of information to add to the site. Lefty is giving me some help and there are a couple of others that I am gong to approach, mainly about the "Classics".

I guess in ending, that there will always be those that do not care about honesty and those that do. For the most part, and I say this again, short trm notirioty can lead to long term disappointment. We will just have to wait and see.

11-27-2003, 11:42 PM
I really can not add to all that has been said here, but i will say that this discussion has been too long unsaid.. we touch on it now and then but never really " peel the skin of the Onion". To have a discussion like this about fly tying is good and it gets to the root, no more or no different than the tons of discussions we have on reels, rods, tackle, location, etc. I started posting my flies. not just because I love tying, but I knew a long time ago about this problem in origination, and said... as a trained lawyer... if I publicize I will have established a date... if I can get a fly magazine to take interest... I have established a date... you get the picture.... and so on... I mentioned that thinking to Joe. But there is one thing I will always do... and that will be to credit any idea I get to the person who gave it to me... Bob Popovic telling me to try Sand paper..yes...sand paper for a crapace on my crab apple fly. Do you think Popovic cares if I take that idea and make a crab.... I doubt it... He would be doing it... but he does not have to because he is a step above the names I will not mention. If I make a new crab, which is in my head right now... a spider crab with a sandpaper carapce. I have no problem saying BPop gave me the idea... If I do a feather brain that is a bait fish cut in half as though it were bitten and spinning to the bottom... it's my fly, the FB that is, but I got the idea of a bitten in half bait fish from a pattern I saw from Sedotti. I got my ideas about using pheasant feathers from Rich Murphy when I saw his Lobster fly.... so credit needs to be given. I have given this credit and will continue to do so.... because it's right.... and I really care about not doing it because we get ALL our ideas from past creations. I have to stop rambling.

11-28-2003, 04:41 AM
One of the best discussions I've seen on this subject anywhere on the web - and on the bonefish board too.

I really can't add much other than to hope that the web itself, whilst offering the opportunity to reach the masses and enjoy instant stardom, also provides for the very public exposure of false claims through forums and discussions such as this.

11-28-2003, 07:19 AM

I'm curious about your comment that Jan Isley invented the Merkin. Without taking exception, it was my understanding that indeed Jan may have been the first to use yarn as the body for permit flies. I saw some of these early flies and they were unlike the later versions of the Merkin that produced so many fish; as best as I an remember, Jan brushed out the yard to produce a fairly wool-like body that resembled the deer hair patterns that had been productive prior to that time. However, I believe it was Steve Huff who modified the use of the yarn to include alternating strands of tan and brown, developed the wedge-shaped body, plus "perfected" the use of rubber legs with red tips. Jan's flies were always rounder and puffier. I'd be interested in any further details you might have on this history.

Also, since this is such an interesting thread, I'll pass along another story Steve Huff told me about the development of the Mother of Epoxy. Steve was playing around with a Puff-like pattern in his kitchen one afternoon trying to glue some doll eyes correctly part of the fly body when he accidently covered the whole thing with epoxy. He looked at the result and thought "That looks pretty good." He had tied a couple more of these when another "famous" guide (who shall remain unnamed) strolled in and said, "Hey, give me one of those!" Since that time the MOE was associated with everyone else but Steve.

Sometimes it's hard to sort out the apocryphal history from that deriving from what I'll call "elastic memory."

Thanks for your post and all the good info.

Marshall Cutchin

11-28-2003, 08:16 AM
Adrian...I wonder if you think that this discussion would be better on the "Wold Wide Discusion " Forum just to see if we would get more opinions... and really flush this out more.

11-28-2003, 08:42 AM
Wow, I did not know that I was going to stir up such interest in this. With the exception of a few of my friends, this has never been openly discussed that I know of and I am very glad that there are others who have the same feelings and I am glad to see some new information coming out.

To the best of my knowledge, the original use of yarn for a crab belongs to Jan Isley. That is saying nothing of whether it was brushed out etc. Even according to Del, as I mentioned above, gives credit to Jan for that. Yes, the flies were a more rounded shape and continue to be on the flies that I have seen from Jan. With that said, the transformation of the BASIC Yarn Crab is something that I am not sure about. Lefty told me that later Del started trimming the Merkin in an enlongated shape but I do not know if that was his idea or not. The only thing that I was trying to do was bring to light that Jan hasd been the first to use yarn.

Up until this point i time, I was not aware and had never heard about Steve Huff having anything to do with the CRAB. I am not saying that you or wrong, just that this is the first that I have heard about it. I will do some checking on this. This is one of the reasons that all new flies (original or variations) need to be documented, if for no other reason to allow the general public to know what, where and when these things happened.

On epoxy, that was just about the time that I was really getting into the saltwater thing (Mid 80's) and no one would tell you anything about working with epoxies. I was in the Keys and shown several flies that were made with a paste epoxy that wa used for boat repairs. I believe that these were the first actual epoxy flies and anot the ones made with a liquid epxy. Understand, this is just wht I have seen, heard and discovered. My guide and friend Pat Casey also said that these were the first as well as several of the people at H.T. Chittums and World Wide Angler. So far as I know, and I will mention names, it was Harry Spears that developed ths type of fly. Again, this is to the best of my knowledge and what was told to me by any and everyone that was around Islamarada at that time. Here is another area that there is a need for finding out the history.

We (john Morin and I) are going to do our best to bring to light what we can establish as FACT on not only the "Classics" but other flies as well and hopefully we will get some others to apass along what they know of any of these flies much like what Mcutchn has said here. To me, I find it fascinating and it is like a treasure hunt.

I agree that this type of discussion is long overdue. I have been known to not let my eye teeth watch what my mouth was saying ut this matter continues to get worse and worse and as has been mentioned, some very good tyers have not watned to get involved in this mess adn have kept their flies or variations to themselves and a few others. That is realy too bad in that it does not allow either the flies or the tyer to get any exposure.

I have talked with numerous tyers that do not want exposure. That is understandable but we still miss out on thir work until someone else passes along the information. Then it is second hand information and no matter what, the information always gets disorted.

I would ask anyone who has any knowledge of any fly, to contact either John Morin or myself and pass along the information. If you can pass along the persons name, address and phone number, I will certainly get in touch with them.

I will leave it to others to name names and patterns except for what we put into our pages on the orgins of certain flies. While, I am hoping to stip up a storm about this, others will need to follow up and I will put in my two cents worth about what I know.

John Desjardins
11-28-2003, 08:55 AM
Joe & John, Thats an interesting and ambitious project your embarking on. I'm not much of a saltwater tyer, but find the same thing goes on in freshwater. If I can help you give me a holler.

11-28-2003, 09:01 AM

I congratulate and thank you for doing all this research. As you say, it is long overdue. This is especially true as many of the pioneers in the sport get older and we suddenly realize they may not be available to answer questions forever.

Jan Isley was one of the most creative tiers I've known and certainly contributed loads to the development of modern permit flies. Del Brown also was quite creative and made many of the modifications that led to the success of the Merkin (a name he loathed, by the way). Steve Huff is an unsung hero, in my mind, and is one of those guys who would probably never bother to concern himself with claims to authorship. They were a few other guides who made significant contributions to testing and modifying the permit patterns of the late 80s. So it was an interesting mix of ideas and authors--something I'd love to see fully explored and documented.

I have several dozen of the earliest patterns tied by Jan and others in the mid-80s if you're interested -- precursors to the McCrab and Merkin. They're not all in the best of shape, but I intend to photograph them and put them online at some point.

Keep up the good work!


11-28-2003, 09:22 AM
Another thing I forgot to mention is that... thinking like a lawyer... is that I "named" my flies... why... not for anything else except I knew that they might be copied and I knew that if they got around they might be copied and the style taken and renamed something else... But I also knew that the "NAME" could not be taken... so by placing a distinctive name on a fly... that could not be stolen. I did make mistakes... for example I called a modified crease fly.. a spong bob fly.... that will not happen again... and I have stopped tying them last year. The Crease fly is Joe Blado's creation...as far as I can tell... Now someone may have though and tyied a bent foam fly before Blados, but apparently they remain anoymous. What I did is place feathers in for the body and cut the nose down.... It really should be still be a Crease fly. Also... The idea of placing feathers on poppers was an idea I got from seeing a guy named Mike (I think it was) Croft do the same with his poppers. All I did that was different is I extended the same body feathers back, where he tied them more traditionally.I know Lefty's Deceiver has been copied by a Well Known female Tyer. I keep thinking that . atleast as far as I can tell.. this is not as great a problem in the freshwater ranks... I mean a mayfly is a mayfly...so it seems that the Saltwater area has been the focal point of contoversy. Great Trout tyers don't seem to name their flies.... I mean,,, there's AK Bests "FLY Box"... yes... fly box... not AK Best's Mayfly or some other weird name... What I would like to see is a tyer recognized for the quality of work instead of inventing a fly..... going forward... That would really start to cull the issues. What is interesting is that I have been isistant with Juro to publicize his deep eel... but even in joking.. he keeps saying to me.. "John. I really did not originate that fly.... it's a clouser with diferent material"... well that's true.. But how many ways can you tie a clouser.... so how do we distinguish a great fly that was "modified" by Juro. "Juro's Clouser'???? I feel he doesn't care anyway... but I do since it is a great fly and for me it fishes better where I fish than a Bob Clouser Clouser. I think style and technique should govern and not just a change of colors... but even as I say that... I am still troubled by the whole thing... I really don't know.

11-28-2003, 10:01 AM
This will have to be in two parts in the same reply so...........

Marshall, I would love to see the flies. I used to have several of Jans flies myself but they have gotten lost along the way. I relly need to take better care of the flies that I am sent. I sent you an email so be on the look out for it.

I used to tie all of Winston Moores bonefish and permit flies and he sent me one of Jans flies as well. I think that i do have that one around somewhere. In fact, I have it posted on my web site in the Tyers Section under the Isley Crab. It is the wool version and not the epoxied version. That is actually how Jan and I got to talking. He asked why I had used wool for my crab instead of yarn and at that time, I had never seen the (Merkin).

I am very glad that there is another person who is willing to take the time and effort to share his knowledge. From others and me - thank you very much.

As we dive deeper into this history thing, it is becomeing apparant that it is going to be more of a challange than I first thought. Doing the older flies did not seem to be that hard but we are going to have to get into some of the newer flies as well so.......

As I have said in previous posts, we will take any information about any saltwater fly from a historic prespective.

I guess what really got me started on this was about a tyer that Strblue made reference to in his post above. I never made a big stink when one of my flies was copied, I just sort of brushed it off except that I did call the person copying it and......... I figured that certain people knew about the fly, it was under contract so.......and there was really not that much money involved. For those of you that think, originating a fly and putting it under contract will bring you fame and fortune, think again - fame maybe but fortune - that's a joke. I do not make enough every year to pay half my bills for a month. Neither do most of the contract tyers with a few exceptions but I HATE it when someone else uses the labors of others to make any money on something that is not theirs, not to mention the notority based on false pretenses.

There are a lot of unsung tyers out there and I will say this again and again, that they need to be brought to the attention of others. Will this cause them some problems, maybe, but........ once documented anyone has a basis to question things.

On the Clouser, Lefty and I had a discussion the other night about the site and the histories of some of these flies and he made mention about a fly that was tied like the Clouser except it used rabbit fur. Enough about that.

I think what we are going to d on the historical aspect of these flies is to put down what we can learn, the source of the information and any variations done with the NAME of the person doing the variation. If anyone has been to my site and really paid attention to some fo the flies that I have in my database, I try and put down the originator of these flies OR, if it is a variation, I put in so and so's variation. IF people read between the lines, the should get the point.

It seems I have hit upon a sore point with this discussion and it realy surprises me that no one has really made an effort to bring all of this out. Well, folks, it has now and since I am on my soap box, I think that I will continue to stay there for a while. Hopefully some others will do the same. I know of a couple that are helping us that take the same stand that we are so this might be well on the way to becomeing a hot topic.

11-28-2003, 12:20 PM

I definitely agree that this thread deserves wider forum status under the Worldwide banner. It's nice to see it come to light on this forum though.

11-28-2003, 05:37 PM

Like you this issue had been under my craw for years. I saw a lot of this happen with trout flies and bass flies back in the late 60's and early 70's. Someone would change the body material or wing on a mayfly imitation and give it a new name, while listing themselves as the originator. Very bad form IMHO. The No-hackle flies of "Selective Trout" come readily to mind. This was not a new style of fly, Fran Betters was tying his USUAL for years before this book was published and the supposed new fly publicized.

Epoxy flies are another terrific example. I started to use 5-minute epoxy on THUNDER CREEK streamers back in the late 1970's for trout and pickeral fishing in the Delaware River simply to have the flies last longer. The deer tail bullet heads with eyes were very effective; however, on pickeral the fly's head was shreaded. I simply wanted the fly to last longer. Was it a new fly design or fly type? Of course not! It was simply coating the bullet head with the epoxy to make the fly last longer. I did the same with Thunder Creek syle streamers tied for use in Puget Sound to imitate hering and candlefish. I don't not take credit for a new fly though because it is nothing more than adding epoxy to the bullet head for durability.

I find an awful lot of the same stuff in steelhead flies since I moved to Washington state 13 years ago. Someone will change the wing material and give the fly a new name. Someone else will use a tinsel tag and dubbed body while tying it spey style and give the fly a new name. I submit that these are no more new flies than tying a Hendrickson with synthetic dubbing instead of urine stained fox belly is not a Hendrickson.

It seems that as folks learn how to tie flies, they care not about what came before and are very deficient in historical knowledge of fly patterns. Worse is that they don't seem to care about whether the fly they just named is a new one or a variation of an already existent one. And the egotistical need to have their name in print as the originator (or the person to whom the large import fly firm pays the "royalty check" to) is more important to them than to be honest in giving credit to whom it is due.

When I began tying flies in 1962 at the age of 9, I was taught that you never take credit for a fly because you changed a material used on the fly. Likewise, I was taught to never take credit for a fly until you researched it very well to see if someone else had developed it before or simultaneously with you.

You are absolutely right, there are many excellent tyers who are not given credit for the superior quality flies they produce.

11-28-2003, 06:02 PM

Now I see whay when I subscribed that I could not use flytyer and had to use my other alias.

I guess that I have really stired up a hornets nest and I am wound up about this now.

I promised myself that I would never mention names etc but I am changing this to adding subtle hints and not so subtle hints and anyone that knows flies will have no trouble figuring out who I am referring to. My dilemma is whether this is actually good for fly tying. On the one hand, it will cause some grief and controversy about some of the supposed noted tyers and on the other hand it will bring to light exactly what is happening in our art.

I just finished an article for my site about all of this and I plan on putting it up on Sunday. I have sent copies to several people including Lefty to get their comments. It is not that I am concerned with the consequences of what I wrote but rather that I properly conveyed the message.

I did not name names except in one case, where it happened to be my fly and I personally contacted the person and company. I made subtle and not so subtle hints as to who these people are. Maybe I have been wrong i not bringing this out before but I wa really scared that I would do more harm than good but from what I have seen from the responses on this forum and some emails that I have received, it seems that I was not the only one concerned about this.

I am sure that there will be some that will have something sarcastic to say but they are probably that way anyway or are guilty of the very thng that we are talking about.

I made reference to Lefty numerous times in my posts and replies and as my mentor, he told me not to take credit for what is not mine, be polite, be helpful, never keep anything a secret and try and pass along what you know. I still feel that is good advice.

I still send Lefty a lot of patterns to CHECK on the fly before I even thin of naming the fly or putting my name to it.

As I said before, if we can get a repository of fly patterns with their histories, then maybe we can get a lot of people to understand about patterns, flies, fly styles etc. That is one of the end goals of what John and I are doing.

Maybe someone should try and do the same thing with the cold water flies and even the warm water flies. With that said, do not look at me. The saltwater end of things is going to keep John and me very busy for quite a while.

If you want a copy of the article that I wrote I will be glad to send it email and get your comments. if no one thinks that I have made a mistake in writing the article, I will post it on my site Sunday evening and make a post with the address o this Forum.

Just send me an email if you want a copy of it. Tht goes for anyone else that reads this reply.

11-28-2003, 10:43 PM
Well..that shows you how much I know about freshwater flies... Looking at them i just could not see that many significant variations... but then again Freshwater includes a lot more flies than salt... so it is interseting to me that this problem is there as well.

Capt. Mel Simpson
11-29-2003, 08:11 PM

The "moral delima" is not if others have stolen flies (cause we know they have) but is if you and I and everyone else should expose the ones who do.

The real reason I even brought my thoughts on the subject to your attention was because that just now, after having been a flytyer for over 50 years (started when I was about 12), I've decided to talk about and share some of the things I'm doing.

So here I am sitting down to write about my flytying and the first thing I want to offer is a disclaimer: "this fly is not original because I stole this and I stole that and....", well you can see the problem. It's the same reason alot of really good tyers will not publish their work, they just don't want their names associated with the self-promoters we all know and dislike.

I've found that if every time I'm around a phony fishing celebrity, I ask them questions like "how did you think of that?" and " I thought the pheasant nymph had been popular before you were born Jim, so how could you pattent it?", stuff like that makes them run when they see me next time.

Have a good day all, Mel

11-29-2003, 08:49 PM
This is an interesting discussion for sure! Here are some of my thoughts on the topic FWIW...

I believe I have originated a number of patterns over the years. They came from within my mind, or from something I saw around me... a flicker, a splash, a notion. No one showed them to me, I created a series of frankenstein flies until the things came together, and the fish liked it.

Some have been quite effective. In fact I've had others adopt them and forget where they got the pattern and "claim" credit. Sometimes even showing them to me! Oh well, that's the highest form of praise they say. The crappy ones don't get that attention.

I'm sure I might have coincidentally come up with something that had been come up with before. In that case I'd have to scratch my head and say "oh well", as if we all knew someone coulda' tied about anything we can concoct before... but unless that revelation occurs the sincerity of my belief lives on if not it's legitmacy. Ignorance is bliss.

In steelhead fishing I have a few that have been very effective. Although you could argue they are like this fly or that, a guy could take the alleged original and say the same with an older pattern, ad infinitum. So maybe it doesn't matter all that much as long as the person was genuine at the vise and the fly expresses a level of original creativity worthy of note, and finally the damn thing catches fish.

Two examples of these "creations" of mine are the bunny rat and it's matuka and/or tube variants, and the "creeper". Now anyone could say that they've tied a muddler with black deerhair and combined it with a bunny leech tied with two different types of rabbit and the hide shaped to wiggle more, but I'd never heard of it done before and did it by inspiration of other things I had witnessed on the river banks.

In striper circles, sometimes people associate you with a fly because you use it a lot. The deep eel is an example. It's name comes from Bob Clouser's deep minnow, but the difference is it's a candlefish, known around the east as the sand eel. It's tied with totally different materials and the head is tied much differently, a nit here and a nit there... but it's simply a variation and not an invention. In fact, a gentleman by the name of Robert Bianca, a Boston Attorney, handed me two of them at a flyshop on Cape Cod one day and said "fish one, copy the other".

Being somewhat of an anti-clouser purist at the time, I didn't even try them for months. Then one day big stripers were sitting in the deep troughs between rippled trenches in a fast tide rip eating sand eels, and after trying a whole bunch of other flies I tied one on. About got my arm ripped off because I was able to keep the fly under the current and at the fish's feeding column and I've been applying them to these kinds of situations ever since. But I never claimed to invent it, although people have said "it's his fly" and I didn't argue. I certainly didn't invent the thing by any means but I sure have caught a ton of fish on it as have others who have drunk the koolaid (or should I say root beer).

As far as trout flies go, I doubt I'd ever want anyone to know I "invented" the entomological freaks I am known to create. I actually buy trout flies to disguise my own mutants in the trout flybox. Funny thing is, I recall outfishing a guide buddy who spent much time in the Rockies one day on... you guessed it!

11-29-2003, 09:26 PM
Here's the way I see it... and I told Joe this... this stuff is worthy of discussion... but there are NO STANDARDS..... and I certainly don't want to be the fly Police. I think that if ... and I refer to classic flies... that if you do your research as best you can and quote your sources then you have done the best you can... and others may be able to add or help. People will always copy flies... we all do.... I certainly will not expose anyone...I think the purpose of the discussion is to see what we think about the subject. As Juro says and Joe has said... there are the originals and the Variations.... it seems there are more variations...Now here's the problem... If you list the originals... and the variations... well I would think you Might have only 10 originals and 10,000 variations... right?... So then what is an original?... Frankly, I think this may be to hard to determine, then I say, are we taking this too seriously...I don't think there is an answer . But this is fun to try and flush out..... Before we can go anywhere... we need to find out what an original is. I certainly can't define it... Why , because what will happen is that... the exercise will continue to take you back further in time until you realize that all flys come from one original... the White chicken feather tied to a hook. I meant this to be short...and see what happened... All I know is that I will continue , when I post a fly, if I got any ideas from another fly... In other words I will do my part simply because I want to do it that way.

Dble Haul
11-30-2003, 06:17 PM
Great discussion! Adrain, thanks for moving this over to the Worldwide Discussion....I feel that this warrants everyone's attention, and like some of you this has been a sore spot for me as well over the years.

As far as declaring what an original pattern is, let's again paraphrase one of the Supreme Court's justices when he was asked to define pornography...

"I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

That says it pretty good for me!