June 20th, 2005

Universal Fly?
By James Castwell


For centuries man has sought just such a fly. One fly for any and all occasions. By now you have scanned down the page to see if there any pictures. Naughty, that's cheating. If there were any pictures you would not read this and simply skip down to them. If you did that you would not learn anything. To just look at pictures does not cement something well into ones 'little gray cells,' as some call them. Pictures may be worth ten thousand words, but not to a blind man. So, to help you learn, I am not going to use any pictures.

You will be given instructions in writing instead. If you should desire to make your own sketches as we go along, it would be to your advantage as you will be using more than one sensory facet of your brain. That you will be also doing the drawing, will make it three and probably cussing me outloud will add yet another. Only if you eat the paper afterwards will you have done a complete job though.

I highly suggest you tie these flies in sizes 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20. If they won't take those sizes forget about it. You will need a light series and a dark series. Grizzly and tan should suffice. By now you are beginning to think I might actually have a universal fly. Of course I have, and soon you will too if you pay attention and follow my directions. This is new. This is not a 'twist' on some old pattern or idea. I take full blame for it. Unless of course you should happen to not catch anything on it. Then it is all your fault.

You start first with the main body. This is the fly from which all shall emerge. This fly requires only one feather, a good saddle one. Tie it onto the hook at the rear with a small bit of the tip extending beyond the shank. Wind the feather and the thread together to the front and tie off. It should now look like a full palmered fly with a tail. Tie a few as you will like them.

    Caddis: You can fish it as is or snip off the tail. It will work great as it is a life form and deadly. Dress it.

    Emerger: Cut a bit out of the center of the tail (optional) leaving two groups of barbels, shorten as desired. Trim the body closely, but not down to the thread to 3/4 of the length of the hook. At the thorax/head area, trim it a bit larger all around.

    Nymph: Same fly but to make it into a nymph just trim the head smaller, like the rest of the body.

    Dun: Divide the tail by removing the center, clip the body tapered and close 3/4 of the length of the hook. Clip the hackle off the bottom and the top leaving one gob sticking up in the middle for wings. Some hackles should be sticking out on both sides and some straight up. Dress it.

    Spinner: Divide the tails by clipping or leave as is for an extended body style. Clip body tapering to the thorax/head. Trim hackle from the bottom and top, leaving some sticking out both sides. Dress it.

    Wet: Divide tail as above. Trim body to thorax. Thin this hackle by removing a few all over. They will sweep back once submerged.

    Terrestrial: Remove tail. Clip hackles at rear of fly to leave a few sticking out on both sides, but not on the top or bottom. Do the same at the front of the fly. It should look like a fly with an X on each end. Dress heavily.

    Streamer: Do not dress it. Present and fish as a normal streamer. Sinks well.

Now, save those sketches you just made. If you cheated and did not make any, you just cheated yourself. Only you know if you want to learn anything or not. Remember these principles and ideas can be applied to any fly in your box. Remember, fly fishing is the 'thinking' mans recreation. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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