The new year came around and it was time
to do some house cleaning. I do try to keep
my vest and fly boxes in good order, but that
fades as the year progresses. It is especially
bad as I get into a time when the fish are
biting very well.
If you remember when this happens I use every
fly that I have in my box of that pattern. I will
catch a few fish on each fly and then change it. The
flies do not always get put back in the box securely.
I then have loose flies in the box. I may also change
patterns and try something else to see if it works.
I may use a dozen different patterns through the
trip and from 6 to 10 of each pattern if it works.
I do this especially with new patterns. If the fish
are hitting on three or four proven, to me, patterns
and a new pattern gets no interest, then I tend to
loose interest in it also. I figure if it does not
work well on a good day, then I probably would not
use it on a slow day. I do give it a try on a couple
of other days, but these patterns quickly fade away.
Since these patterns all end up in one box in my vest,
this is the time to take that box out and look at the
flies. I try to decide if I want to keep them or not.
Most of the time I strip everything off the hook and
toss it in a bowl that I have on my desk. Next time
I am tying and the hook looks the right size I take
it out of the bowl and use it.
After I do this I take every other box out of my vest.
That means I have several boxes opened on my desk. I
look for the damaged flies first and take them out.
I look at each and see if a simple repair would fix
it, if so it goes into a box. If it is beyond help
I strip in then and there and toss the hook into
After all the damaged flies are out, I group the
patterns all together. I will organize by color
and size in the box. For example I carry the Peacock
Sword Tail Nymph (Ricks Favorite Bluegill Flies)
in six colors and three sizes. I also tie them
with and without a bead head. Makes for a lot of
combinations, but that is one small box. If I am
short a few patterns then I take them out of my
stock and put into the box. As each box is done I put
it back into the vest.
After all the boxes are done I check the small
pockets where the tippet material and other
things go into. I check to see what I might need
to pick up or to put into the vest. This also
gives me a chance to organize my tippet material
ect a little. This usually turns out to be a two
or threeday process as I remember the times I was
out and what happened on some of the trips.
I then put my vest on, it helps with the withdrawal
symptoms a little. I then check to make sure that
I put each box back in the place that I want it
to be. I usually end up changing a few things
around as I put them in the wrong spot.
I then look at the storage boxes I have on the
shelf. I check to see how many of each pattern
I have and if I think I am low on those I put
a tab of paper in the bin saying how many I
should tie. I go through all the boxes at one
time so I have an idea of the number of flies
that I need to tie. (This might be the number
that I want to tie as I could probably fish for
two years with the number of flies I carry in
my vest.) Then as I have time I tie up each
pattern and fill up the bin to the point where it
makes me happy. On some flies this might be as
few as six and other others a few dozen. It
depends on the confidence that I have in the
fly. The more confident I am the more of them
that I have. I picked up some black peacock
herl this winter and will need to tie some
flies using that. I wonder how it will compare
to red and normal peacock in patterns.
After this I will also tie a few other patterns
that look good to me. Some are out of magazines
and others are from swaps. I am always on the
look out for new patterns that will work. I
then add these to my vest.
The other things I do is to check the boxes
that I carry with me over my lunch hour. This
is a Plano bag with four 4.5 by 9 inch boxes
in it with 9 compartments in each box. I have
flies in those and in two fly boxes that I
carry in a fanny pack. I make sure these are
supplied with flies also.
You may think I am nuts for having flies tied
up ahead of time. Three reasons for this. First,
I enjoy tying a lot and end up having more flies
that I might use. Second, if I join a swap I
usually have the flies tied so I can sent them
out. I only join swaps when I can get the flies
tied in the next week or so if I do not have them
on hand. Third, if I want to send a few flies to
some one that is curious about them, I just have
to take them out and mail them.
Now that this is done I can get to that 10.5 ft
4 wt that I want to build. It will come out of
the tube next week. This also means that when the ice
goes off I am ready to go.
Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick