February 11th, 2002
The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
Cleaning the Vest Out
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .
By By Richard D. Zieger, Iowa
Well I did my annual task today. I took everything out of my vest.
All the fly boxes, the loose flies, the tippet material, the odds
and ends of everything that was in it. Actually I started yesterday
and finished today because it was somewhat of a task to get
I carry 14 boxes with me, I put 4 patterns in each box. I don't
want to run out of flies and I want to have a variety of flies
with me. Also, if the fish are biting, I may tie on all of the
flies of that pattern that I have with me. I do this because I
feel flies that have caught fish work better. Maybe because I
think they will work better. In any case it is my habit to do
I have two boxes of poppers, a box of ants, a box of grasshoppers,
a box of other terrestrials, a box of dry flies, boxes with
streamers, nymphs etc. As I am fishing they tend to get a
little messy, so I open them up and clean them, putting
flies back where they belong and stocking it if it is short
Also cleaned out the loose flies that always get dropped in a
pocket and stick my fingers when I reach in to get a box. Now
I know none of the rest of you who fly fish do this. But if I
see fish I don't always get the fly back in the box but the box
goes in the vest. Lost one box one time and won't do that again.
Another thing this lets me do is to look at the patterns that I
really use and discard those that have not worked as well as the
others. One box I carry is flies that come in on swaps and another
is flies that I see I want to tie. I usually tie six of a pattern.
This gives me a few to loose along the way. Some of these did not
work as well as other flies so I set them aside and clean all the
material off the hook to use again. This is a way I recycle some
of the hooks so I don't have a lot of flies that don't work for
I always find flies that just need to be repaired a little and
this gives me a chance to get them collected to do that. Some
may be ones I did not tie too well and have lost a wing or a
tail and it is not hard to fix.
The best thing is that it brings back the memories of some
very fun days. Being able to be out and enjoy the outdoors.
Also on some days to share it with a friend. To be on the
pond where the geese nest and have them fly in and land.
All those things come back as I do the grungy job of
cleaning my vest.
Makes the winter weather a little more tolerable. ~ Rich Zieger
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