This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Silvius Gold Comet.
This is a fly a friend of mine had in his collection. His notes state it was tied by Lloyd Silvius of Eureka, CA in 1970.
While living in Eureka for many years, Silvius (1902 – 1973) was a baker, worked for Chicago Bridge and Iron Company building floating dry docks during World War II, then opened Lloyd Silvius Tackle Shop.
In John Shewey’s book Classic Steelhead Flies, he lists several steelhead flies attributed to Silvius including the Brindle Bug, Fall Favorite, and Nite Owl.
Shewey further notes that Comet style flies, known for their long tails of bucktail, were developed in the 1940s in the Eureka area or perhaps on the Klamath or Eel rivers.
The origin of the Comet is interesting.
In Trey Combs epic book Steelhead Fly Fishing, he writes the original Comet “was all orange with a bucktail tail twice the length of the hook.” To help sink the fly, bead chain eyes along with lead under the body were added. Many variations followed and they became known as “Comet style” flies.
In Shewey’s book, he quotes Combs as attributing the original Comet fly pattern to “…one Hap McNew, the son of Lon McNew (1878 – 1966) who operated McNew’s Sporting Goods in Eureka, California, began tying bucktails with bead chain in 1940, appropriately calling them ‘popeye flies.'” Further, he provides more information from Combs the Ralph Cole from Eureka invented the Comet style of fly.
I wasn’t aware before writing this post that some early Comet flies were tied without bead chain eyes. All Comet flies I’ve seen are tied with bead chain eyes. And it appears the original Comet did include eyes.
If you’d like further information, I’ve provided links to the books below.
Here is a link to Shewey’s book:
And Trey Combs Steelhead Fly Fishing:
I wrote an earlier TBT about some Comet’s I tied a few years ago. See them HERE.
Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!
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