Tag Archives: fly tying names

A Rose by Any Other Name

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Shakespeare is famously quoted: “It may be that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,’ but I should be loath to see a rose on a maiden’s breast substituted by a flower, however beautiful and fragrant it might be, that is went by the name of the skunk lily.” It is a quote that is often used when in a quandary over names. The names we give our flies (if we name them at all) follows no doctrinal pattern, no rules, no conventions or even logic. But we indeed give our flies names to identify them and distinguish them from other flies. I read recently in an online forum where an apparent novice fly tyer believed he had invented a new fly pattern. He had looked in all the references he had access to, and he couldn’t find an example of the fly he had just invented. He wanted help from forum members in naming the fly. Of that, he got very little as the fly (he thought he invented) was nothing more than a soft hackle with a pink dubbed body and a pheasant fiber tail. The fact that he could not find a specific example of that combination of materials was not surprising. Given the vast amount of different materials we have for tying flies, the permutations of different combinations are likely more than the national debt. But some flies do indeed get named so I thought it might be interesting to examine how we name our flies. more…