Uni Products Fly Tiers Corner
Back in 1991 the U.S. Postal Service honored what they perceived to be five of the most iconic flies developed in the long-rod sport. In looking over that list, it is a good one. But one might also argue that the ubiquitous Clouser Minnow deserved a place on the list. Be that as it may, here’s a look at what we know about the five honorees.
The Jock Scott is the most prominent of the full-dressed salmon flies that originated in England. The creator of this pattern was John “Jack” Scott. Born in 1817 in Branxholm, Roxburghshire, Scott worked as a ghillie for several British lords during his lifetime. He first tied the pattern in 1850. Its blend of colors from head to tail caused it to be referred to as “the ultimate triumph in harmony and proportions.”
The Muddler Minnow has been described as the best minnow/streamer pattern ever tied. First developed by Don Gapen of Anaka, Minnesota in 1936, it is a sculpin imitation. The fly can be fished dry, wet or partially submerged and was originally used to target Nipigon-strain brook trout in the waters of Ontario, Canada. On the other hand, it has proven deadly for other trout and multiple species of black bass as well.
This fly’s originator was Alaska native Lee Wulff. While living in New York City in 1930, Wulff became dissatisfied with traditional English-style dry flies for use for trout on the rivers of the Catskill Mountains. He thought those were to skimpily dressed for American waters. Thus, he added full-bodied white hair wings and a pheasant tail to the Royal Coachmen pattern for greater buoyance and the Royal Wulff was born.
Legendary fly-caster and angler Lefty Kreh was the father of this iconic fly. This fpattern has been called the best-known saltwater fly in the world. In the late 1950s, Kreh developed the fly to solve two common problems faced with popular streamers at the time. First, it would cut through the wind more easily when cast, but also would not wrap around the bend of the hook during a cast and get fouled. Originally tied as a solid white pattern, over the years the more popular ties have been darker colored backs with lighter hues on the belly.
Apte Tarpon Fly
The only pattern on the list, whose creator is still with us, this tarpon fly was created by Stu Apte. At 91 years old, Apte has held 44 world records during his Hall of Fame angling and guiding career. Previously he was a Navy fighter pilot and commercial airline captain, before settling the Florida Keys to chase giant tarpon. He developed his Tarpon Fly during the 1950s, while fishing with baseball legend Ted Williams and a host of other celebrities.