This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is a George Grant style fly.
Obviously, this fly was tied by James V. Flaherty. I’ve watched him tie this style of flies at several Fly Fishing Fairs and Expos. I think he gave me this fly at the 50th anniversary of the Federation of Fly Fishers (now called Fly Fishers International).
George Grant (1906 – 2008) was known for tying woven-style flies.
Grant was born in Butte, MT and the Big Hole river was his home water. He was known for his conservation work and was called the “father of the Big Hole.”
After serving in the Army from 1942 – 1945, he owned fly shops in West Yellowstone and Butte, MT. Those efforts were short-lived as he took a job at the Treasure State Sporting Goods in Butte until he retired in 1967.
He was inspired by the Franz Pott style of woven flies, which Pott received a patent on in 1934. Some of those flies were the Lady Mite, Sandy Mite, and Mr. Mite. Grant received his own patent in 1939 for his style of woven trout flies.
Two notable books were written by Grant – The Art of Weaving Hair Hackles for Trout Flies (1971) and Montana Trout Flies (1981).
There were two schools of thought about utilizing soft or hard bodies. Obviously, Grant fell to the hard bodied nymph style as the best imitation to match the large Pteronarcys stoneflies. The fly he developed to imitate this nymph was his Black Creeper. He taught himself the woven hair technique in 1933, using black ox, skunk, boar bristle, and finally Tynex nylon.
Other popular flies developed by George Grant included names like the Badger Buck, Badger Bullhead, Brown Fox, Gray Buck, Miller’s Thumb, Squirlpin, and his Banded Featherback Nymphs.
For more information about George Grant, be sure to check out Mike Valla’s book entitled The Founding Flies. Mike Valla has done a terrific job capturing what the subtitles expresses – “43 American Masters, Their Patterns and Influences”. If you are remotely interested in fly fishing history, this is a must read, even if you don’t tie flies. I’ve provided a link to help you find this book through Amazon.