Old Wet Flies

These are some classic wet flies, tied with gut snells, on traditional style barbless hooks. In 2011 at the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, Massachusetts, a man came to my table and told me about some old wet flies he had. He didn’t have them with him, but he did bring them to the show, they were in his car. When he brought them in and opened the container, I was pretty impressed with the flies, the quality of the tying and the array of colors. It was a real nice cache of classic brook trout flies. With his permission I took some photos:

A collection of classic barbless wet flies, probably circa the teens or the 1920's.

A collection of classic barbless wet flies, circa the early 1900’s. Note: they are snelled, but on eyed hooks. Some of the patterns include: Coachman, Silver Doctor, Parmacheene Belle, Colonel Fuller, Jock Scott, Black Gnat, and what I believe to be a couple Montreals. They are all tied with doubled-gut at the hook eyes. This was sometimes done to increase the strength of the gut at its weakest point, the hook eye, due to the strain of playing fish.

Notice how the tips of the quills have been clipped on the turkey-winged patterns. This must have been an effort by the tier to “clean up” the ends that are a result of the tips of the barbs being thin and wispy.

I was particularly imressed with this jay-winged pattern; it is unlike nay of those that I have seen previously. I have no idea what this fly is named, but it's areal beauty, in my opinion.

I was particularly impressed with this jay-winged pattern; it is unlike any of those jay wing flies that I have seen previously. I have no idea what this fly is named, but it’s a real beauty, in my opinion. All these flies were dressed on hooks that appeared to be size #6 and #8.

I have had these photos for over two years, and have wanted to post them on my blog, but like so many things, out-of-sight, out-of-mind, or some other excuse. Anyway, at long last, here they are. Enjoy!

Edit: If you check the comments, Bob Mead asked the question about what manufacturer made these hooks. I did not know, but posted these photos and asked the question at Classicflytyingforum.com, Lee Schecter of Connecticut gave this reply: ” Those barbless hooks are “Jamison” – made in the 1920s by Allcock in the UK solely for WJ Jamison company of Chicago – thus they were marketed as Jamison hooks – not Allcock.” Thanks Lee!

11 comments on “Old Wet Flies

  1. Bob Mead says:

    Who made those barbless “bump” hooks and when were they first available? Bob

  2. Don Bastian says:

    Hi Bob;
    I’m sorry but I can’t answer that question off the top of my head, meaning from my existing knowledge. I know that style with the hump was made later, more recently, like in the ’70’s or 80’s, maybe by Mustad…as I recall seeing them. That was how I recognized the barbless style on these old wet flies. Supposedly the hump helps “hold” the fish better than a straight, no-barb, no-hump shank.

    I’ll post these on classicflytyingforum.com to see if anyone has seen or knows of the manufacturer of this style hook. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Paul Brew says:

    Hi Don.

    A wonderful find and I’d be very interested to see what modern versions would look like cleaned up and properly set for photo. I wonder how many others have similar collections hiding out in their fishing boxes?


    • Don Bastian says:

      Thanks Paul!
      I thought it was pretty cool when the guy showed up with these…he obviously saw the classic wet flies I had on my table, that’s what prompted him to bring them out. These all look pretty good, I think most of them is “properly positioned” would make even better photos. I photographed them as they lay in the folder he had.Probably lots of old flies lying about…thanks for your comment!

  4. Kelly L says:

    The jay wing fly is incredible. Great looking flies.

  5. Such a nice piece of work! I love vintage style fly fishing!

  6. David Smith says:

    I have a set of similar barbless wet flies made by Jamison circa 1920’s and looking for a value or any serious offers. Original box and script inside box for pictures email me dave.kts@gmail.com

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