Today I have been married to a very special lady for 48 years. On the same day I came across a lonely, battered and fish-scarred old Adams (unlike my beautiful wife), tucked away in the corner of my fly box – in some symbolic way it felt like renewing our vows. There was a time when it was a favourite fly; it should still be (like my wife).
The Adams started its life as a general Caddis or Midge imitation with the feather tip wings tied over the abdomen caddis style. It was designed by Leonard Halladay from Mayfield, USA in 1922, at the request of his friend Charles Adams who used it on the Boardman River in Michigan and where it began to gain popularity as a trout fly. The wings have gradually evolved more permanently into an upright position to imitate Mayfly duns. It has had a universal appeal and depending on sizes from #10 down to #20 it was used in hatches from the large Green Drakes to the small Blue Winged Olives. I may be sticking my neck out and inviting debate, but the Adams is if not the most, pretty close to being recognised as the most popular, versatile, effective dry fly since its creation.
It was John Geirach and AK Best when discussing the ubiquitous Adams said this about it – it looks a little like everything, not exactly like anything and seems to have great totemic powers.
That pretty much sums it up – an iconic fly that is symbolic with fly fishing.