DECEMBER: fly style

In December Tara and I flew to Oregon to visit family for the Holidays. My younger brother’s girlfriend introduced us to the latest fashion: hair feathers.
“I could tie a nice fly with those” was my immediate thought, and in fact it turns out that fly shops are the main retailer for hair feathers. So when Tara got her own feathers, I made her promise to give them to me when she took them out so that I could tie some flies.

Tying flies is a classic, almost cliched winter time activity. Many fly fishers spend these cold, dark days at the vise stocking fly boxes with a careful assortment of patterns, sizes and colors. I do not. I like to go through my flies and throw a bunch out. At the end of the process, this is how I like my fly box to look:

Above is my back-up box, it holds 90% of my flies and usually sits unused for most of the year. The box I actually carry on my person when I fish looks like this:

Between the two boxes: 44 flies. Add in the odd salt-water patterns and over-sized poppers I have lying around and you have a grand total 59 flies. For most fly fishers, the discovery that they possess only 59 flies will send them into a feverish frenzy of fly-tying. I’m not kidding. I once read a fly-tying article in which the author pronounced that he never went fishing without at least three boxes of ant flies! Three boxes? Of ant flies? Seriously? It’s enough to make me question my methods. I guess I’m either doing something very wrong, or very, very right.

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