Thursday, March 24, 2011

English Jonny's Fly Box

Years ago, around the time they sent him away, I inherited one of English Jonny's fly boxes - the one with carp flies. The photo accompanies this post. I studied this collection for hours, trying to understand what went into his selection of materials, the placement of the bead-chain eyes, the proportions...all of it. I wanted to know.

The grizzly hackle, I hypothesized, was selected to represent the gill flaps of the Physocallimus nymphs so prevalent on EJ's favorite carp water in early May. The white hackle, however, clearly resembles the side bristles of a third-instar Calliomorph larva. Yellow marabou tail? The cerci of a male Scaphillymnys gregii or S. clarkii. (But which one!!??).

Recently, during one of our regular visits, presented him with my hypotheses (with some trepidation, I'll admit - when you're wrong, English Jonny lets you know it, in classic English/Irish style).

"They're a bunch of bloody wooly buggers with bead chain, you imbecile. Why do you have to over-analyze everything?!", he said to me.

Clearly, the man is not ready to leave the institution.


  1. I like to render the fly with yellow to represent a brace of the Zea mays (sp.), between 5 and 7 niblets.