As promised, here is another look at one of the antique fly wallets in my collection.
This leather Deluxe brand fly wallet is well used. Check out the “notebook” style to allow different types of “pages”. Felt leaves are included to soak moisture out of the flies after use.
The name is on the inside – W. M. Baldwin % The Paris, Great Falls, Mont.
I assume this was in case WM lost his fly wallet and hoped it would be returned to him. I’ve used the same concept in my fly boxes by including my name and phone number (it came in handy once!). This might have been before phones were as prevalent as they are today.
Note each fly has a leader tied on. The other end of the leader has a knotted loop connected to the spring which keeps the fly in place. The spring keeps the flies under tension by the bend of the hook.
The flies all appear to be wet flies and have seen better days. I’m hoping they caught lots of fish, but time has not been kind to them. They are beginning to fall apart.
I’m guessing by looking at the flies that WM used to fish down and across, swinging these wet flies hoping a trout in the Montana rivers he fished would strike hard! Not many fishermen I know fish like that today – me included. I might try swinging a caddis pattern during a caddis hatch. I’ve changed the traditional soft hackle flies to imitate cripples and I fish them dry with a dead-drift. If the fish aren’t looking up, I’ll use nymphs. But I prefer to hook trout on a dry fly with drag-free drift. There’s something about seeing the fish move to your fly, open it’s mouth and hook up!
I really enjoy looking at these vintage fly wallets and trying to imagine where the previous owner fished and which flies were his favorite. I’ve fished a few Montana rivers. I wonder if we crossed paths?
Somehow the plastic fly boxes I use today don’t seem as magical as those made with leather, felt, metal and springs.