The Ol' Bamboo - Fluff Chuckin' with Ray Eichelberger and Lowell King

Carp on the Fly and Old Bamboo!There were two events that caused the demise of the golden age in the early 1950's.  The president of the United States at that time, Harry Truman, placed an embargo on Chinese goods which virtually ended the import of bamboo.  Another event that caused the end of the golden age was that of the Shakespeare Company releasing the "Wonder Rod", which was made of fiberglass.  Between these two events, bamboo fly rods almost became extinct. There were two companies who continued to build bamboo fly rods after fiberglass took the fishing rod business by storm, Orvis and Winston...but only as a sideline. Fortunately bamboo fly rods didn't disappear totally from the scene.  This should be looked at as a tribute to the material itself for standing the test of time against many odds.  Fly rods made of bamboo are still sought by fly fishers, as well as collectors alike.

Lets now turn our attention to flies and the life of Franz Bernard Pott. We will explore his history and the story behind his entire family of flies. 
Franz Bernard Pott was born in Germany in 1877. At a young age, Pott migrated to England where he underwent extensive training as a barber and a wig maker.  In the early 1900's, he moved from London to the United States.  Starting on the east coast, he steadily moved westward, ending up eventually in the state of Montana.  Once while visiting a brother who worked in the Netherlands, he met Henrietta Keune, who later became his wife.  Franz Pott worked in the barbershop business until his problem with varicose veins forced him to retire at about 1932. 
During his life, Pott always enjoyed fly fishing. He would use his skills learned as a wig maker, weaving materials together and around the hook to make imitations of insects that were found in nature which fish fed upon.  This was way before entomology was even considered a science. He would tie these flies mainly for personal use and gifts given to close friends until his forced retirement.  After that, he started making fl

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ies known as the Mite family as a business venture.  Here is a copy of his patent:
When Franz Pott first ventured out into his fly tying business, he sought assistance from the housewives living in the Missoula, Montana area who could make the woven hackles.  At first he found none!  Being a resourceful man, he therefore ended up sending the instructions to his sister in Germany and also to his two sisters-in-law in the Netherlands.  The family kept the business running until Pott finally 

found and trained some local housewives on the assembly of the bodies used in making the flies. These ladies worked out of their own homes, which made this business endeavor a real "cottage industry."  A few years later, the business was flourishing so much that a couple more housewives needed to be employed to meet the demands of a busy business.

The flies that were tied by the Pott contingency sold for $0.35 each, or 3 for $1.00 from the 1920's until the 1950's.  This cost seemed high in the 1920's, so the selling feature was that people were of the mind set that these flies were a quality item and gladly paid the price. People were skeptical about the same price in the 1950's, as the thought was that this price had to lack quality.  Perhaps if the prices were raised a little in the 1950's, these flies would not have lost the popularity they once had. One can only speculate this quandary.
The business was carried on by both Mr. and Mrs. Pott until 1958. The company changed hands a few times since then. Today, Pott Flies is owned by a local Missoula, Montana man by the name of Mike Wilkerson. 
The Maggot Fly - Another great winter pattern for carp
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