SnookFly

Lefty's Deceiver History

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Been searching for a copy of an article Lefty wrote for Salt Water Sportsman probably around 1972 titled "The General Purpose Fly." Any SOLers have info on that story hiding in a dusty corner?

FYI - although Lefty began fishing/tying/creating what eventually became the Deceiver in the late 50s early 60s, the oldest printed mention I've been able find is from a November 1968 United Fly Tyers issue of Roundtable magazine.  It quotes Lefty from a letter he sent to UFT gives several fishing and tying tips and the original recipe including the use of Mylar that was just coming in to the fly-tying world around that time. He offers  suggestion about how to purchase Mylar in  bulk spools.

If anyone is interested in this history, send me a PM with your email and I'll send a copy.   

Edited by SnookFly
edited a typo

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Herb - me too, other flies seemed to eclipse the original Deceiver; but Bob Popovic's Bucktail Deceiver version is still one of my go-to flies, tied small for night-shift snook. Fishing with a buddy this past spring for baby tarpon, his favorite is the BTD in all white with little flash. He caught a nice river tarpon and later in August got a bigger beach tarpon down below Lake Worth.  I also got a peacock bass on BTD a few weeks ago along Alligator Ally.  Pete

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steingm - yep that was an interesting podcast. Lefty and Norm were probably on a parallel path without knowing it.  Mark Sosin's dad, Irv, also tied a fly in the 40s that was a favorite for Barnegat Bay striped bass.  I find the history of saltwater fly patterns intriguing. 

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On 9/19/2021 at 10:21 AM, HL said:

Lefty's Deceiver - WOW - that was the go-to fly.

Can't remember when I last tied one or fished one.

Herb

Really Herb? The thing about Lefty's Deceiver is that plenty of flies with different names are some sort of variant thereof. 

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On 9/19/2021 at 6:09 PM, steingm said:

Lefty’s Fly or Norman Duncans fly? Watch at Millhouse Podcast of Norman Duncan and you decide. 

This was an awesome episode... Duncan is an innovator.  Wasn't shocked at all someone commercialized his pattern...was bummed for him.

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I couldn't find the article, but I did find this reference in, "Southern Master: The Legend of Lefty" by Monte Burke

 

"...In the late 1950s, Kreh created one of the most popular flies in the sport’s history, the Lefty’s Deceiver. The inveterate tinkerer devised it, of course, while looking for an answer to a question. Traditional streamer flies at the time often fouled, the feathers wrapping around the hook. Kreh solved that problem by adding a hair collar that surrounded the wing of the fly and kept it off the hook. “I really thought it was just a passing thing when I made it, but it caught on,” he says. In 1991, the U.S. Postal Service put the Lefty’s Deceiver on a stamp."

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58 mins ago, HeyNine-ah said:

This was an awesome episode... Duncan is an innovator.  Wasn't shocked at all someone commercialized his pattern...was bummed for him.

It's nice to see the originator of a tying style get the proper credit they deserve, who ever he may be?

To many fly patterns have lots of lee way and gray areas attached to their history.

It's only natural since many tying sequence are used over and over again.

Proper credit and intellectual  properties is so important to record history correctly.  

It's almost impossible to get a concise, clear answer on any pattern development that's been around for decades upon decades.  

 

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I have also watched the episodes of Steve Huff, Flip Pallot, Chico Fernandez, Stu Apte, Tom Evans, Al Pflueger and enjoyed them all. They were true innovators and characters to boot. 

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I'm not looking at this as a competition between Lefty and Norman.  Lefty's earliest Deceivers were tied in the late 50s for catching striped bass in Chesapeake Bay and probably can be traced to Tom Loving's striped bass fly, which is similar to Homer Rhode's 1930 tarpon and bonefish flies. Norm called his fly the Inshore/Offshore Fly (have no idea why) and fished it in Miami area, Biscayne Bay and Tamiami Trail for snook and tarpon.  At the time neither man knew the other, and didn't meet until Lefty took over the MET tournament around 1964 or 65. Mark Sosin's dad, Irv, created his similar fly in the 40s and knew neither Lefty nor Duncan at the time. 

 

I just think three men traveling parallel fly-tying paths is a pretty cool thing and an interesting story.  So - I'm still hoping someone reading this may have a copy of Lefty's story "General Purpose Fly"  that appeared in Salt Water Sportsman around 1972.

 

From my own experience, the first time I fished a Deceiver was at a Rhody Flyrodders gathering in Newport, RI (1968 I think), and it was given to me by the late Armand Courchaine. 

 

Several SOLers have asked for a copy of the United Fly Tyers newsletter (1968) and I'm including it here for any one who wants to check it out.

  

1968 LEFTY'S DECEIVER RECIPE.pdf

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Posted (edited) · Report post

On 9/18/2021 at 7:35 AM, SnookFly said:

Been searching for a copy of an article Lefty wrote for Salt Water Sportsman probably around 1972 titled "The General Purpose Fly." Any SOLers have info on that story hiding in a dusty corner?

FYI - although Lefty began fishing/tying/creating what eventually became the Deceiver in the late 50s early 60s, the oldest printed mention I've been able find is from a November 1968 United Fly Tyers issue of Roundtable magazine.  It quotes Lefty from a letter he sent to UFT gives several fishing and tying tips and the original recipe including the use of Mylar that was just coming in to the fly-tying world around that time. He offers  suggestion about how to purchase Mylar in  bulk spools.

If anyone is interested in this history, send me a PM with your email and I'll send a copy.   

I knew Lefty and worked at SWS in 1972, but don't have a copy of that issue. Here's an appreciation of his Deceiver that I wrote in 2014 for MV Magazine.IMG_1119.jpeg.9cb164327f3c579913b6ac11f9b31732.jpeg

Edited by Tin Boat
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Tin Boat - Thanks for sharing your story about Lefty and the Deceiver - much appreciated.  The photo is interesting too.  The painted eyes and red gills on your flies caught my attention right away. I still do this occasionally just for old times sake and because it makes me happy.  My favorite color combo is yellow eye with red pupil, but the fish probably don't care. 

 

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Everyone who has been around the SWFF world for a while has encountered Lefty, actually knowing him must have been a very interesting experience!

JC

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Great stuff... though I'm very partial to Clousers. 

 

SnookFly - The other killer night time snook fly is a simple white seaducer with a little flash.

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