There was a question asked on the Warm Water
section on the Bulletin Board. It was why we
tie on flies that are not our favorites and
then after not catching fish, go back to our
favorites? Why not just go with the favorite
flies at the start?
I have been letting this roam around in my mind,
(a dangerous situation?) for the past few days.
I know that I carry my favorite flies for each
species I fish in a fly box. I have my crappie
box, my bluegill box and a box for bass. I have
a box of poppers, a box of ants, a box of beetles
and hoppers, and a box with midges and pheasant
tail nymphs. These carry my favorites and then I
have another 5 to 6 boxes with other flies that
have come in on swaps or that I have found that
I want to try.
I think this is where the dilemma begins. All of
us like to catch fish. That is the reason that we
go out fishing. We enjoy the outdoors, the wildlife
we might see, other folks we are with, but most of
us consider trips more successful when we catch fish.
The other side of the coin is, will another fly work
better than the flies I am using now.
Many times I will go out with just a couple of boxes
of flies. These will be the flies that I want to try
to see how they work. It forces me to really fish
with them. I may concentrate more with my favorites,
because I expect to catch fish with them. When I don't
have my favorites with me then I may pay more attention
to what I am doing, as I don't have my favorites to
back me up.
I am not sure that this is the best way to test
new flies, as I don't know if the fish would
have taken my "go to flies," but it is the
way that I experiment most of the time.
The other way that I try new flies is on a day
when I am catching fish. After I have caught
several fish the nagging question starts
stirring in my head, will they hit another
fly? I don't think that I am the only fisherman
to have this quandary. This is when I begin
I will tie a new fly on one rod and leave a
"go to fly" on the other. I then begin to
alternate cast to see which will catch fish,
or I may troll with the wind pushing me. When
trolling I try to keep the flies fairly close
together so the fish can see both of them and
make a choice between them.
When I find a fly that works well, I then move
it into my favorite's box and tie some more up.
Most of the flies I tie I have in two or three
sizes. I store them in multi compartment boxes
so I can always tell when I need to tie more
up. If the fly does not work that day then I
put it in the top of the box to try another
day. I change the orientation of the fly each
time I try it, so I know how many times I have
tried it. If it worked, but not very well then
I put it in the bottom of the box, to try again
At the end of the season I take the flies out
of the boxes that are in the lids that have
not worked and strip the materials of the hooks.
I will have tried them at least four times. I
toss them in an old hook box and then use the
hooks as I tie for the next season. I usually
end up ditching from 20 to 30 patterns a year.
It may be the places I fish, but when they don't
work I try something else.
I think part of it is in how much experimenting
a person likes to do. Part of it may be that I
am blessed with having many fertile ponds to
fish in, with a lot of dumb fish. Catching fish
is usually not a problem, and then those questions
starting running around in my head. I am also
somewhat curious by nature and that may help
me to experiment.
In the end we all have to decide which fly we
are going to tie on. Will we try a new one or
will we go to the old standby's? I will admit
to doing both at different times.
I hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick email@example.com