The Fly Young Knight

The Fly Young Knight is a poem that was written by Frederick L. Whiting in 1927. It was copyrighted and made into 12″ x 22″ posters in 1950. As I understand, the original with mounted wet flies, hangs in the Adirondack  League Club clubhouse in New York. According to their website, there is an address in Old Forge, New York, but that is a PO Box and I am uncertain of the actual clubhouse location. This group is open to membership, and is dedicated to “the preservation and conservation of the Adirondack forest and the propagation and proper protection of fish and game in the Adirondack region.”

A copy of The Fly Young Knight also hangs in The Angler’s Club of New York. According to the writer, this whimsical poem was written about the Gray Knight, an old wet fly pattern given a mythical life in verse as the Gray Knight, with this distinction in the second line of the poem: “Emblazoned on his shield he bore a Parmacheene Belle.” Thus the poem continues with more fly patterns named as the tale unfolds.

When Jim Deren, owner of The Angler’s Roost in Manhattan passed away in 1983, Judith Bowman and Hoagy Carmichael, Jr., cleaned out Jim’s shop and his infamous “backroom.” They found a stack of rolled poster copies of The Fly Young Knight, and decided to engage a fly tier from Massachusetts to make ten sets of the flies, then mounted and framed them and sold them at a sale for $250.00. That was in 1985.

I never heard of The Fly Young Knight until last summer when a friend sent me a copy of the poem in the mail as a surprise gift. I recently tied the patterns for a customer in Connecticut, he was going to mount the flies himself. I took photos of the patterns and have copied The Fly Young Knight into a computer file with the intent to post the poem and fly photos inserted among the verses on the blog. Here it is:

The Fly Young Knight

by Frederick L. Whiting

Forth to the fight a good

Gray Knight

rode manfully and well.

Emblazoned on his shield he bore a

Parmachenee Belle

 

And from his tried and trusty lance there glittered in the sun

A gaudy

Alexandra

and a

Pale Blue Evening Dun.

From which you’ll please to understand, don’t fail to get this right,

The flies were on his armor, but there was none on the

Gray Knight.

 

No heed he gave to life or limb, nor fear lest he might fall,

He’d often fought in

Beaverkill

and also

Montreal.

Two squires attended his needs and with him cast their lot,

The one a

Royal Coachman

and the other

Jock Scott.

They polished off their golden spears; they oiled their gear and tackle.

And on their silken bonnets wore a

Bucktail

and a

Hackle.

The banner each one held aloft, renowned in song and story,

Was garnished with a

Katydid

beneath

Greenwell’s Glory.

Two husky heralds named

Cahill

made all the welkin ring,

And from a wood hard by appears a dashing

Grizzly King.

With haughty mien he makes salute, his plume waves in the wind,

While he defies the world to match the charm of

Jenny Lind.

What ho! Responds the proud

Gray Knight,

none ever yet heard tell

Of a maid so fair as can compare with

Parmachenee Belle.

Quick to the list these champions, their sturdy charges drew,

While overhead

Jungle Cock

and

Scarlet Ibis

flew.

Each laid his trusty lance in rest and dashed across the flat

When in the eye of

Grizzly King

there flew a fierce

Black Gnat.

This put his optics out of whack, he tumbled in the dirt.

He “bust” the buttons off his pants and split his undershirt.

So when he loudly yelled for help and made a great to do

They brought him a

Professor

and a

Silver Doctor

too.

Their ministrations hurt him so he gave them both a kick,

And for a fee he handed each a

Cowdung

on a stick.

In kicking them he hurt his toe which made him more forlorn

They put

Blue Jay

plaster then upon his knightly corn.

The wrathful

Grizzly King

was placed in bed attended by his daughters,

And she who bathed his injured eye was called the

Queen of Waters

Moral:

This goes to show that knights of old when walloped in the eye

Would belly ache about their pain like any other guy.

The Fly Young Knight, written, 1927, by Frederick L.Whiting. 1950 is the copyright date on the poster.

Silver Doctor

Here is a size #10 Silver Doctor wet fly pattern. I realize that I have already posted other pattern variations of the Silver Doctor here, but it is a fly that seems to rate rather high on search engine fly pattern lists. This is a recent and slight variation (two weeks ago) of my initial variation from Bergman’s Trout recipe, created in 2005 that I included in my second DVD, where I used brown duck or goose and guinea fowl wing quill sections instead of brown turkey and teal flank. This pattern uses dark brown turkey while still retaining the guinea fowl. The reason for that is that it’s still easier and faster and more durable to use the turkey, guinea fowl, and duck or goose wing quill sections in red, yellow and blue, than trying to marry turkey to teal flank, and then having to use goose shoulder. Ease of marrying wings is all about maintaining uniformity of the feather slips. Goose shoulder marries well to turkey and barred wood duck and teal, but not so well to wing quill slips.

This pattern was one of 23 wet fly patterns that I tied for a recent project that I’ll soon be posting here on my blog. I have looked, and there is nothing on the internet about this, but in 1927 a man named Frederick L. Whiting wrote a whimsical poem titled, The Fly Young Knight. It was copyrighted in 1950, and also made into a 12″ x 22″ poster with medieval-looking script writing. The verses name the different wet fly patterns throughout, with spaces to mount the flies, weaving a tale of adventure of the encounter of a mythical medieval knight, the Gray Knight (which to me, was a totally unknown wet fly pattern), who meets in a field to do battle with the Grizzly King. Apparently the two had some sort of disagreement over their respective Ladies-in-waiting, Parmacheenee Belle and Jennie Lind.

The original poem, as I understand it, is framed with the flies mounted in place among the verses, and hangs in the clubhouse of the Adirondack League. There is also one in The New York Angler’s Club. Former New York City fly shop owner Jim Deren, of The Angler’s Roost, also figures in this story, a far as where the poem had its last hurrah. More on that later.

The following is excerpted from a March 24, 1985, The New York Times article: “The Angler’s Roost was first situated at 207 East 43rd Street, then in the Chrysler Building and, finally, at 141 East 44th Street near Grand Central, where Mr. Deren held forth until shortly before his death in 1983. Space was limited in each of those locations. At the last place, one felt crowded if more than two other customers were present.” To read the entire article:http://www.nytimes.com/1985/03/24/sports/outdoors-angler-s-roost-a-lure-to-the-end.html

Silver Doctor, Size #10, Mustad 3399.

Silver Doctor

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Yellow fibers and short dash of blue fibers

Butt: Red floss

Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Hackle: Guinea fowl and silver doctor blue hackle fibers

Wing: Dark brown turkey tail, guinea fowl, red, blue, and yellow duck or goose, married

Head: Red (Wapsi lacquer)

I’ll be posting the poem and inserting all the fly photos on my blog in a few days. For now this size #10 Silver Doctor will have to do. The smallest I’ve ever tied this pattern in is a size #12.