The Old Never Goes Out Of Style

Very few fly fishing books have ever been published that contain real-life examples of flies. The limited edition of Eric Taverner’s Trout Fishing From All Angles (1929) is one of them. Pictured below are photographs of the plate of flies from this book and its accompanying key. Owing to the orientation of the flies, the key works top to bottom and right to left. So fly #1, Stewart’s Red Spider, is in the upper right corner, and fly #30, Lough Erne Mayfly, is in the lower left corner.

I think it’s especially interesting to note that the essential design principles used in these patterns are the very same principles incorporated in flies today. Of course, why wouldn’t they be? If our goal remains matching our flies to the insects that trout feed upon, well, the fly tiers and fishermen of old were at least as observant, thoughtful, and creative as we are today. That’s exactly why their designs have stood the test of time. 

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