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Fly Fishing Flies:
Buy Or Tie
Eugene Macri 

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© 2011 E. P. Macri Jr.

Should you tie your own fishing flies or should you buy them?  This is a question Dark Cahill Wet Flythat I am usually asked the most by people just entering fly fishing.  I have a simple plan that I use to help most fly anglers.  Since most trout fly patterns are tied in Africa, S. America and who knows where else these days the flies are relatively cheap and are of decent quality.

So here's my secret plan for saving the most money and still filling your fly boxes:



  • Buy standard patterns especially dries and streamers.  Why? Because the dries are hardiest to tie when starting and need the most expensive materials such as prime hackles.
  • Streamers are being sold so cheap that it really doesn't make sense to tie the standard patterns such as Wooly Buggers, Maribous etc. You can pick and choose the fly patterns you need and save more money because streamers take more material such as bead heads etc.
  • Also, buy a few standard wet flies, nymphs, and soft hackle patterns too. They are also very cheap.
  • Now tie specific nymphal and larval patterns for the streams that you fish!  This makes the most sense because if not you'll spend too much time on these standard patterns and not have time for the special patterns for your waters.
  • You can also tie a few no hackle dries and similar patterns such as emergers etc, that you need.

Fly Fishing Flies in Your Fly Box

Here's the minimum you should have depending upon the season and types of streams you are fishng for trout:

  • Attractor Patterns: Such egg flies, San Juan Worm, Wooly Worms, etc Have these in at least 3 different colors and various sizes.
  • Streamer Patterns: Wooly Buggers, Maribous and Matukas in the most popular patterns.  Maker sure you have some that are dark and contrasty, light, and others that are bright.
  • Streamer Patterns: Some Accurate Minnow Imitations of the bait fish in your streams in various sizes.
  • Sculpin and Clouser Minnow in a couple sizes and colors.  These are great for the big fish in the streams that no one knows are there.
  • Standard hackled dry flies. These patterns still catch a lot of fish. Hendricksons, Sulfurs, March Browns, Blued Duns etc.
  • No hackle versions of the above and also flies for your favorite waters
  • Standard wet fly patterns such as G.R. Hare's Ear, Cow Dung, R. Coachman etc. These flies will still take a lot trout and are cheap to buy.
  • Nymphs: Standard Pattens such as the Black Stone, Hare' Ear, Muskrat etc. These patterns will catch fish everywhere. A couple dozen of these different patterns will give you success.
  • Nymph patterns for your local streams. This is where you match your ties to what you find in the stream
  • Caddis Dry Fly Patterns: The Standard deerhair and hackle types work well in various sizes.
  • Caddis larva and emergers; You buy some and then tie a few more specific to your streams.
  • Some good soft hackles in three different shades: light, dark, and medium.  These will catch fish when nothing else will
  • Now add some midges and small flies and you've almost got it made.
  • For terrestials: Ants, Letort Hopper and Cricket and a few beetles and you 've now put together quite a fly box (fly boxes) without going to the bank or wasting most of your fishing time.

In the future I'm going to tell you every single fly you should have in your box?  Just stop back at fly!



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