National Park Service Photo / Neal Herbert

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Claudius Aelianus was a writer in ancient Rome, probably best known for his 17-book series, On the Nature of Animals, one of our earliest comprehensive studies of the animal kingdom. What is lesser known about him, however, is that he’s one of the first people to bring wide attention to what was then the relatively new sport of fly fishing. He wrote this back in the second century, describing what some locals were up to along the Astraeus River in Turkey: 

“They have planned a snare for the fish, and get the better of them by their fisherman’s craft. . .They fasten red wool round a hook, and fit on to the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles. Their rod is six feet long, and their line is the same length. Then they throw their snare, and the fish, attracted and maddened by the color, comes straight at it, thinking from the pretty sight to gain a dainty mouthful; when, however, it opens its jaws, it is caught by the hook, and enjoys a bitter repast, a captive.”

American fish began suffering similar fates after the sport was introduced by Europeans here in the late 1800s, which happened to be about the time the brown trout was also introduced to U.S. waters. Fishermen here were credited with being the first to use artificial lures to catch bass and, after discovering how effective they were, began to copy the patterns to make flies to catch trout and salmon. Fly fishing’s growth was slow but steady, becoming widely popular in the 1920s and growing to a booming sport by the 1950s. 

Today, thousands know the unmatched feeling of being in an isolated and beautiful place, surrounded by the beauty of creation, and preparing to do battle with some amazing local trout, salmon or whatever may be swimming by. It’s a special kind of rejuvenation and an environment most never experience.

At C. Forbes, we celebrate the beauty and adventure fly-fishers love so much at our partner website, a specialty apparel and accessories brand for those who really “get” the sport. We’re with you.

Our field-tested line of jackets, shirts and caps will make sure you’re comfortable in just about any conditions you want to be out in. Our attractive and durable tote bags will ensure that your gear and supplies are safe and ready when you need them. And we understand that some of your best fly-fishing memories deserve to be remembered, too. So we’ve got a unique framing program, cufflinks, charms, lapel pins, tumblers, mugs and other items that can help take you back to the water no matter where you happen to be.

Guest Author: Tom Allen

More about America’s Favorite Flies.

Over the last 2 years, we’ve enjoyed working with a really great book project called “America’s Favorite Flies.” It’s a gathering of 224 persons from across North America, each of whom provided a favorite fly along with comments and materials. Among the book’s contents are stunning photographs of the flies, writings by the authors and participants, and other visual contributions from artists and fisherman alike.

Early on, C. Forbes partnered with AFF to develop a collection of lifestyle and leisure merchandise that have brought value and awareness to the book, its audience, and fly fishing enthusiasts everywhere. The self-published book has sold out.

Our sister company, C. Forbes Creative has just completed a revamp of the program website – a new brand and an updated browsing experience with new photography. The feature product is a Favorite Fly custom framing program, which makes a great heirloom or gift for any occasion. New products coming soon.

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