This week’s Throw Back Thursday fly is Pritt’s Water Cricket.
Here is a fly from T.E. Pritt’s Yorkshire Trout Flies (1885). The link will take you to one of the free download books from an extensive list I have created on my Links to Free Old Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Books page. You can normally access it from my homepage under the Other Resources section.
Pritt’s second edition in 1886 was renamed North Country Flies, a title you might recognize. Many believed the original title was too narrow as he writes in the Preface:
“The first edition of this work was published under the title of ” Yorkshire Trout Flies.” It was very generously received, and was quickly exhausted. But it was pointed out in quarters entitled to high respect that the title was too local : that the patterns of flies would do good service on all northern waters : that they would kill grayling as well as trout : and that the remarks upon Yorkshire streams would apply equally to all similar rivers.
In view of these representations it was therefore decided to alter the title to ” North-Country Flies,” the text remaining identical with that of the first edition.
This explanation is necessary in view of a per- plexity which might arise in the minds of readers owing to the distinctly Yorkshire colouring which pervades the book.”
T. E. PRITT. (1886)
Yorkshire is a historic county in Northern England. According to Fly Fishing Yorkshire, “Yorkshire is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, and is home to the stunning Yorkshire Dales. We are fortunate to indulge in fishing in Swaledale, Wensleydale and Wharfedale. We also have the North Yorkshire Moors, the Vale of York and the Howardian Hills, this is why Yorkshire was voted the 3rd best destination in the world by Lonely Planet.”
I think Pritt’s work was extraordinary for the time, and as one interested in the history of fly fishing, it offers a glimpse of the beginnings of flies we use on our rivers today.
The Water Cricket can be found on page 22, listed as No. 1 of 62 flies listed.
“In its early stages the insect of which this is supposed to be an imitation, is not a fly but an active little spider. It runs upon the surface of the water and is often taken greedily. The dressing shown in the plate is ample.”
The fly pattern is listed as follows:
Hackled with a feather from the Golden Plover’s
breast, in its summer plumage, or the wing or back of a Starling.
Yellow or Orange silk. It is sometimes ribbed
with black silk.
Note: tied on Alec Jackson North Country Fly Hook, #13; Danville 140 denier black thread for rib
For a terrific history of the classic flies, Robert Smith’s The North Country Fly: Yorkshire’s Soft Hackle Tradition (2015) is a must-have book for your fly fishing library. Here is the Amazon link:
Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!
(John Kreft is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.)