Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Seven…



Holy Feathers


This cape was one of my father’s favorite objects. It came from the Jungle Cock, which was a fowl indigenous to India.

Jungle Cock

Jungle Cock

Flies made from its feathers were popular among trout fishermen in the 40s, but not so much anymore. The “eyes,” as we called them, were always tied on the hook in pairs, one on each side.


There was a time when the bird was classified “Endangered,” which meant no one in America could legally buy, sell, barter, or import the feathers. They became so scarce that a frightened stillness fell over the entire fly-tying community. Fishermen spoke in hushed whispers about the law that seemed unreasonably punitive. But the war was going on and there were other big issues to think about.


I caught a nice brown with this fly, and you can see how it got chewed up. I retired it to a place of honor in my ornament box. I used a lot of peacock herl on my streamers, but never made two the same. The fish didn’t care, because they were so hedonistic in those days they’d eat anything that looked like a bug, and Jungle Cock eyes made them all the more ferocious.


My special fly box still contains about 200 Jungle Cock flies that I made as a teenager. They were so handsome I retired them also. No malodorous fish was going to chew those beautiful bugs.

If anyone can make a better looking fly than this one, and post its photo on Dal’s blog, I’ll give them a quarter. Just send me a SASE,


Each fly my father sold was impaled upon one of these little advertisements.



98 thoughts on “Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Seven…

  1. Like. I never appreciated fishing much but i went on a binge one time making flies in my boyhood days because I thought they were cool. I made a couple dozen or so until I tired of it. But I was proud of my creations. Wished I had some of those flies now.

  2. Well done Mr. Fenn. I no longer have any of the flies my Uncle helped me make in my youth. I wish I would have kept a few. I can appreciate the work that went into making these. I agree with Michael Hendrickson, these are a work of art. Perhaps there you have it, your have expressed your artistic side in the creation of these beautiful flies. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Beaitiful flies! Love the little advertisements he included.”fenns flies fool fish” haha i love that.I would’ve had to buy one based on that statement alone.Geez its gonna be tough to make one worthy of an entry for this.Im gonna try though.

  4. Nice and unique flies Forrest…. Thanks for sharing…:) I might have to try and make a fly… My husband has a kit somewhere with the vice and stuff on how to make them… But not tonight… busy helping my DH out in the garage making a firebox for the wood….

  5. I swear! EACH time I say to myself, “Forrest cannot possibly come up with something else strange and exquisite”… and then he proves me wrong!

    Man those are some nice looking flies. 😛

    • I love it, your right, it’s like staring into fire or lightning. You never know which way it will arc. In the case of fire no replica table pattern. How does he expect us flies to win.

  6. Wikipedia:

    True flies are insects of the order Diptera (from the Greek di = two, and ptera = wings). The most obvious distinction from other orders of insects is that a typical fly possesses a pair of flight wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax. (Some species of flies are exceptional in that they are secondarily flightless). The only other order of insects bearing two true, functional wings plus any form of halteres are the Strepsiptera, and in contrast to the flies, the Strepsiptera bear their halteres on the mesothorax and their flight wings on the metathorax.

  7. Aha 15 on the perimeter. 3 in the middle and of course too far to walk but what else? I hope we’re talking about same place. The home of look maybe?

  8. Mr. Fenn,

    Whether you like it or not you are an Artist and you do collect art work! The flies you have made are simply amazing! I had a friend who tied his own flies. I watched him a couple of times. He would tie his flies during the winter and fish during the summer. I bet a pheasant cape would work pretty good too!

  9. K I’m finally starting to see. Man Forrest, this is like a video game…you just keep making each level harder! 😯 Too bad it’s bed time. Have to study it tomorrow. Night all

  10. Beautiful flies Forrest, and what a beautiful JC. Another contest I won’t be able to enter but I hope others here can. 🙂

  11. Not me I just cut a little peace of felt off my hat . Stick the hook through the middle then I put a little worm on the hook to just cover it. The felt makes it float . That’s called a poor mans fly. I think those fish have bad eyesight anyhow.

  12. Forrest,

    A quarter what?…..

    They make artificial jungle cock now, but I still have some old cape somewhere.

    I’ll check my fly box to see if anyone wants to pose for a picture.


  13. Finally! I think this is one contest I can compete in, but probably not win. Does any one know of fly-tying classes in NYC? I need that quarter for a game of pool.

  14. Another one? What is Forrest up to this time? I love that jungle cock. It’s one of the most majestic birds I’ve ever seen. All the hens must go crazy when he’s strutting his stuff. Of course, there are lots of beautiful cocks and hens in this world. There are some gorgeous pheasants…and, of course, the phensant cocks are much more colorful than the hens.

    Check this out:

    Also, do an image search for Golden Pheasant and one of my favorites the Palawan Peacock Pheasant…or as I like to call it the PP-cock Phensant…you can also Google more pics of the Lady Amethyst Phensant. The way the males strut you’d think they were wearing heels. Absolutely stunning! 🙂

    • I forgot to mention…those flies are works of art. I’ve only tied about 100 flies in my entire life, and most of those were just little red or tan scuds my brother and I would drift 2-at-a-time down the Provo River…and that was a long time ago. Forrest, I think you should “retire” all of those flies in frames. Those are keepsakes.

  15. mr. forrest ,those are the prettiest flies,I have ever seen.I am used to just putting bait on a hook,and casting in the water.but boy would I love to try to fly fish.I don’t even know if I could learn to fish with that kind of reel you use,but if your granddaughter can learn it,maybe I could too.they look like they would be fun to collect like marbles,because of all the colors. am I seeing a fly that looks like a frog,can somebody tell me whats with the frog or toad.I know they like water and can dig them selfs under ground and come up again in the spring rains in Africa.

    • You might very well be seeing a fly that looks like a frog. But in my very humbled opinion I think they are called flies for a reason.

  16. My wife says there are a couple of those flies that would make really nice barrettes.

    The most I know about fly tying is that it requires time and patience as well as a steady hand. 🙂

  17. .
    ” If anyone can make a better looking fly than this one, and post its photo on Dal’s blog, I’ll give them a quarter. Just send me a SASE, ”

    Good one ! ( how much do stamps cost nowadays ? ) Ora quarter of what ? 🙂

    • .
      I cant quite say why, but at the moment, this reminds me of the (real) Batman episode “The Joker’s Epitaph”. About halfway through, the Joker (who is Vice Chairman at Gotham Bank) is trying to blackmail Burce Wayne, and young Dick comes to his defense at fires off some barb at the Joker. Bruce Wayne cousels Dick with “Don’t dip your oar in that sordid sea”.

      Okay, back to the puzzle.

  18. For some strange reason these scrapbooks are making me hungry. I’m not sure if the flies are looking tasty, or it’s the thought of those yummy trout… hmmmm?

  19. Sadly my fly tying did not compare. Love your father’s marketing strategy.
    Those are some attractive flies, no wonder you both caught so many trout.

  20. Ok, some knowledgeable person help me out here. Cape, does that mean the chicken was skinned with the feathers intact. Did the chicken then run around naked? Poor chicken 🙂

  21. Just an observation…. IMO in the second grouping of fly’s, 3rd one down on the left looks like the fly on page xiii in the preface of TFTW.

  22. Hmm, a box has 4 sides. The frame has 4 sides.

    Well camoflouged area?

    TFTW Pg 2
    It was a disaster whenever one of my toys fell off the porch and was swallowed up by the never-never land of undergrowth.

    • Ed I can’t say what the triggering clue is in this scrapbook…at least not until I determine if the message is dangerous to me. But I HAVE gotten past the “trigger” or at least ONE of the triggers.

      I’m still working on the de-coding part….this is a very hard one to identify and de-cipher.

  23. I know absolutely ZERO about fly fishing. Nor do I personally know anyone who does fishing of any kind. Which is why I’m floored when I read these scrapbooks and see pictures of things I’ve never seen, heard of, or even dreamed existed. I’ll admit it never occurred to me to read about any of these things but why should it? I have plenty of interests, of other kinds, that keep me quite busy. But still I’m amazed and feel a little bit “in awe” when I see and read these scrapbooks.

    I truly wish I had a father or grandfather who I could sit with and listen to tales of fishing and see, touch, hold things such as these flies. I have a feeling fathers and grandfathers with Mr. Fenn’s wide range of experiences are few and far between though.

  24. I’ve never fly-fished, but I sure love watching someone do it. It’s an art and beautiful human motion to behold. And now, I see even the darn flies are beautiful.

    A beat-up chicken neck on a long piece of string to catch Maryland Blues is more my speed. I am so lame. But, they ARE pretty tasty.

  25. Speaking of spring.
    I don’t mean to gloat, but it’s busting out all over up here in the Pacific NW. After nearly five weeks of miserable 40 degree winter I, for one, am glad it’s over 🙂

    Look what I found in my yard today:

    The Honeysuckle is leafed out. My Magnolia is ready to pop. Our early Rhododendron is showing signs of red petals in it’s tightly closed blooms.

    I suppose I’ll have to start cutting grass in February….and I am nearly at 49 degrees latitude…

    Three feet of snow heading to the New England today…poor guys!!!

    Honestly…I don’t know why anyone lives elsewhere…but I am glad you do…
    Nope…this is not unusual…

    Okay…well there are those volcanoes on the horizon and little tremblers slip and slide the countryside around once in a while…

    But no tornadoes…

    • Same here in Northern CAL Dal. My narcissis are almost finished blooming and the camellias are out. Gorgeous sunny 70 degree day today. But I looked at some Rocky Mountain weather cams and it doesn’t look like good searching weather yet – it will be a long winter there. 🙁

      • But CJ…I am a thousand miles north of you..
        I am right against the Canadian border. If I were east I’d be living in Glacier National Park…where I am certain it is much, much colder than here…

        Part of British Columbia is southwest of me..

        If I wanted to ski I just drive 55 miles east into the Cascades where there is 6 feet of snow…

        Just saying…but of course I am not gloating…

        • OK, OK! All of us on the Left Coast, even you waaaaaay up North, benefit from the warm Pacific breezes. 🙂 I grew up in MN so I know what weather is like this time of year there – that’s why I only go there in the summer. 🙂

          • Just to let you all know… Our two days of allotted sunshine for the winter have come and gone here in the Great Pacific Northwest!!! it is pouring down rain and everything is soaking wet… But, like Dal says at least we don’t have to shovel snow…:)

    • Dal,
      Only wimps need to live in such lavish weather conditions. I see no bedrolls and pickup trucks in your future searches. Now those hardened individuals from Eastern Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and the Canadian Prairies understand what worth the cold really means!

      In fact it is so cold out there, lawyers put there hands in their own pockets!

    • Just came in for another break after weeding my garlic and red onion beds. Picked some fresh herbs (fennel, dill, and some sage), some arugula and miners lettuce for dinner and trimmed back the lavender plants. Its been a beautiful day here in the Cal. mother lode country. The bees are buzzing and a couple of ravens conversed with me overhead while I worked. Nothin but Blue skies smiling at me. What a joy.

    • In Indiana, it is 32 degrees and freezing rain/snow. This is temperate for us. Usually our friends to the north send us their cold weather in the winter, and our friends to the south send us their heat and humidity in the summer. From the west come tornadoes, and from the east we get the occasional hurricane. And if that is not enough variety, every few years we get a slight rumbling to remind us of the New Madrid Fault that is not too far away. About the only thin we do not have to worry about is forest fires.

      • Yes Mark J, that all may be true but who else can say that they are a Hoosier? My favorite version of where that name came from was the story that settlers in Indiana were so tough and raucous that a frequent refrain in bars after a boisterous night was “who’s ear”…….Ok, maybe not, but I do know that Indiana folks are as tough as they come. Ya have to be with that weather!

  26. Forrest I am going to beat your fly challenge…I promise ya! Even though I really want to solve the SB…I need this challenge to take a little break from brain strain.

  27. These flies are beautiful. No such fly has ever graced the end of my line. I love it that Mr. William Marvin Fenn also tied such beauties. No trout could resist such a lure. No wonder all the trout in TTOTC are so big!

    • Forrest, where did your father market his flies…Magazines, Bud Lilly’s, or at Fenn Haven?

      You come from a gifted family. Do your artistic genes run to successive generations? It’s always fun to see grandchildren mirroring grandparents interests and talent.

  28. 23Kachinas – loved your post on the history of the Seahawk’s original mask! Great artwork – old and new. Thanks for sharing. I remember designing and coloring my own totem in 4th grade.

  29. Lia – I spent my school years in Anchorage, AK from grades 1-7. We learned about the Na-Dene/Athabaskan languages in school.

    And you, where did you color your totem in 4th grade?

    • 23, your flutterby and hummingbird look like beautiful “flying friends.” I was in grade school in Wyoming when we designed totems. my teacher introduced us to many Native American tribes and cultures.

  30. OFF TOPIC – My youngest (well not so young anymore) had a late night appendectomy. All is good!

    Quote at the hospital – “It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one.” – Karl A. Menninger

    If you feel like you are on the hook fight like crazy to get off and if that doesn’t work pray for catch and release!

  31. “Fenn’s Flies Fool Fish”, try saying that real fast a few times. Hahaha, Sounds about the same as the babbling that occurs when you finally get to your solve point and surprise no treasure chest. LOL. But wait I’m not talking about THE “F” word. I do not use that word.

  32. “Holy Feathers”, “eyes”, another potential reference here to La Buce… Nossa Senhora do Cabo and the staring eye.

    Really? This is where it’s all leading?

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