My name's Tyler and I'm a fly tying addict.
They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, right? Well...I do, it's really bad. Living in the city doesn't afford me the opportunity to fish nearly as often as I'd like. As a way to get my fishing fix, I tend to spend a little time behind the vice each week. This tying routine has led to a massive collection of flies. To make matters worse, with all the tying practice I've had in the past few years, I can crank out a dozen flies pretty quickly. Ultimately, I cary almost every one of these flies to the river.
Knowing full well that I'll never need 600-800 flies on any given trip, I need to start carrying fewer flies. In the end, it's more about presentation than it is about exact imitation, right? So...I've reorganized my flies to make the process of fly selection quick and easy. I started by getting a handful of Tacky fly boxes. They're durable, slim, and hold a boat load of flies. They're my absolute go-to fly box. I've also rounded out my selection with a few of those round fly pucks that you get at fly shops and some of the super slim Orvis boxes as well.
Below is my new box breakdown.
1. A "Main" Box: To make things simple, I've narrowed my most productive fly patterns down to fit in my "main" box. This Tacky box holds well over 100 flies and I've stuffed it with caddis, pheasant tails, attractors, midges, PMD's, and stone flies. If I were pressed, I could probably take this box to any watershed in the Western United States and imitate what's in the water.
2. Tacky Day Pack Boxes for Specific Rivers: I have two Tacky day pack boxes (probably more to come), one for each of my favorite rivers. In each of these boxes is a specific collection of flies that I've found productive on those rivers, in addition to a few that I want to try out on my next trip. Each of these boxes holds about 80 nymphs, more than enough for a weekend trip to either of these rivers.
3. Original Tacky Boxes for General Classes of Flies: I also use the original Tacky fly box to organize my patterns that have a wide range of variation. Pheasant tails, stone flies, prince nymphs, caddis, and copper johns each have their own box in my arsenal. In theory, most of these boxes should stay in the truck and be used to refill my main box or the boxes I've put together for specific rivers. In all likelihood a few of these will probably find their way into my pack.
4. Fly Shop Pucks: I also use fly shop containers or pucks to hold flies. One container is specifically designated for Pat's Rubberlegs. This is one of my go-to flies and I carry 2-3 dozen of them because I loose a LOT of these to the bottom of the river. These little containers also work well for small bushy dry flies. When I'm on a small creek, or backpacking in the sierras, I typically take a puck with a small selection of bushy dry flies and a few nymphs. This is usually all you need on smaller creeks and rivers.
5. Super Slim Fly Boxes: My midges usually find themselves in a handful of super slim fly boxes. You know those ones you can put in your shirt pocket? These are great inexpensive boxes to hold nymphs, but they're not nearly as nice or durable as the Tacky boxes.
6. Bigger Boxes: In addition to the nymph and dry fly boxes, I also have a few bigger boxes that hold my streamers, leeches, and wooly bugger variations. These are boxes that I take out on the water with a purpose, knowing that I'm hunting for bigger fish. In all honesty, I need to use these flies more often!
With this new system, I'm hoping that my giant sling pack will now have room for a jacket, my camera, or maybe even a water bottle. There's really no need to have 1,000 flies for a few hours on the water. I'll keep you updated on how this all works out, I'm really hoping to kick this habit!
If you have any other suggestion on how to contain my addiction, I'm happy to hear your suggestions!