Hey Historians... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Hey Historians...

04-10-2004, 12:37 AM
I have a simple question . What is the origin of the Royal Coachman? I do not have a clue I would guess taht it was out West as that appears to be where it has the most steady "support base". But what do I know I'm a life long R.C. abuser!:hehe:

04-10-2004, 03:38 AM
I seem to recall somewhere that this fly was tied for an English lord by the driver of his carriage. It worked so well for the gent that he named the fly in honor of his chauffuer.

I can't recall where I remember this story from. Perhaps someone can verify or refute its veracity?

04-10-2004, 09:03 AM
The Royal Coachman is an American pattern that is the gaudy cousin of the British Coachman. When the Coachman wet fly . crossed the Atlantic Theodore Gordon adapted it to a dry fly and in the 1876 John Haily added the red silk band to create the distinctive feature of all Royal patterns. His dry fly has spawned a whole range of variants including streamers and hairwings. It was his own interpretation of a coachman fly but with finer livery. Mr L.C.Orvis gave it it's name. Although the wings may vary, all have the same red central body section, butted either end with peacock herl. This is the Parachute version. It often works when nothing else will.

The Royal coachman is an excellent general purpose up-winged dry fly that can be used to represent many other large winged insects as well as may flies. It is an ideal wasp, hornet or bee pattern. Treat with floatant and fish it on the surface. Try the occasional retrieve over the surface for a short distance or else twitch it to represent a struggling terrestrial insect like a wasp or bee trapped in the surface film. Try our Royal Wulff and Royal Coachman Parachute version.

04-10-2004, 09:10 AM
The Royal Coachman, perhaps the most widely used and known fly in the world, easy to tie, see and fish, a favorite of trout and anglers for over a century. Though not always “royal” (this designation came later) it WAS first tied and fished by a coachman, Tom Bosworth to be exact, carriage driver to Queen Victoria. “Old Tom” as he was called was a master with a buggy wip and while driving a two or four horse team a favorite trick of his was to snap the pipe from the mouth of pedestrians lined along the road in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Queen as she passed by. This skill with a whip easily transferred to a flyrod and Tom became a legend among anglers in ninteenth century England, especially for the fly he created for night fishing (Could tom have been doing a bit of Poaching? Why else fish at night?). Anyway, his design became known as “the coachman” in honor of him and eventually, like many other things British (especially to do with trout fishing) it was exported to America.

The “Royal” designation was ascribed to the fly shortly after it arrived here, given to a modified version of it first produced by John Haily, a New York City flydresser. It was not John’s intention to rename tom’s invention but after he added a red floss body and a few other mods for strength, (to deal with the teeth of American brook trout) people soon labeled it the “royal” coachman as it reminded them of the colorful battledress worn by British redcoats (Supposedly it was Charles Orvis’ brother who first called it that upon seeing the fly for the first time).

The Royal Coachman was the first fly I ever used for trout and as a boy fished them wet for brookies in the stream that flowed behind my house. Years later, one summer in my early teens I perfected a technique for using it against rainbows in an Arkansas spring creek and, in my twenties, learned to employ it as a dry attractor on the Pequannock, Rockaway and Flatbrook. To this day I still use a royal coachman occasionally as there is no deadlier lure than a #12 wet swung thru the pool tails of a rain swollen freestone mountain rill OR plunked down as a dry attractor between boulders in the still collects of streams such as Van Campens, westbrook and waywayanda.

Still popular after a century you can buy this fly almost everywhere trout fishing tackle is sold, from your local k-mart to an upscale Orvis shop, as well, several famous Flyfisherman have produced their own variants, (Royal Wulff, Leadwing Coachman ect.) what a great design! Tom, ya done good old boy

04-10-2004, 11:11 AM
Hey Fred thank you for the great reply. I am now informed!

04-10-2004, 05:44 PM
Hope that wasn't "TMI."