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Vest Again

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
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 the bowl.

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

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