Flies for sale,pandemic pricing!
One of the most important (only) lessons I learned in high school was how badly zero’s can hurt your average.
If an effort to keep a few positive numbers in the deposit column I decided to take on a little fly tying project.
I used to tie flies commercially, but quit for a whole host of great reasons.
I no longer possess the attributes, or perhaps character flaws, necessary to tie the same fly over and over again in assembly line fashion. To create any revenue tying production flies, you really have to hammer down, very few people can make a go of it for very long and I do not aspire to be one of them.
However I did dream up a project I found interesting, diverting, and perhaps with the potential to pay for a grocery run.
I chose a dozen or so fly pattens that are crucially important to me, and the way I fish, and put a few copies of each into a fly box to auction.
To me each pattern represents a style of fly. Each has a specific purpose the same way every tool in your tool box has a different job.
The concept for each fly was stolen or borrowed and blended with other ideas to fill a specific need I found in my fishery.
I could modify each of these flies in size, color, and weight and probably happily get through a year of fishing here.
My second hope for this box is that it answers a few frequently asked questions. Folks can look at this post and say “OH I get it! Thats what he means by bead head wooly bugger”
And thirdly, it will give me something to write about and hopefully stave off insanity a little longer………
There is no great artistry in this box, these flies are work a day, great for catching fish, or throwing in tree branches, whichever comes first. I spent some time having fun tying flies and then taking pictures of them around my shed.
Egg Sucking leach
#1 the egg sucker. Its purpose in this collection is to serve as a basic 365 day year attractor fly. Offering great color contrast and a huge range of versatility in size weight and sink rate.
But its really a bit of a cheat.
Its an egg sucking leach, its a the ultimate working class steelhead fly. You can tie it out of cheap crap fast and it excels at catching fish under an amazing variety of conditions. It will always catch some, but at certain times it really kicks into high gear.
Late season summer and winter run bucks seem to develop a real thing for this fly. I have a theory about this. Another time maybe.
So the particular egg sucking leach I chose for this box is the Suskwa poacher almost identical to the one sold by waters west fly shop in Port angeles.
If your going to tie it yourself remember to keep it sparse and get that octopus hook right back there at the end of the marabou.
Its black marabou, then purple, then a tiny bit of blue krystal flash, some king fisher blue schlappen, and then a chenille egg.
#2. The prom dress/flash fly.
To me this fly represents your basic big attractor fly. Its tied out of materials that sink relatively well without too much weight and casts without too much trouble.
Another great choice would be the Skagit minnow, I feel like the two flies fill a similar niche.
I have two prom dresses in the box, the only difference being the color. The one is a standard fuchsia, an awesome bright color for somewhat colored water, you should probably tie some in blue, and copper/gold as well if you want to a good selection.
The other is is “gun Mettle” #6916, mixed with a little purple. Its an all out must have color. For medium to straight up crystal clear water this fly gets bit tons.
#3 red fly.
Thats it, red, its really just about the color. I tied this one large with red hackle and marabou and bucktail.
Red is a traditional spring and early summer color here, so I tied a big one, then I did double duty by tying a more summer run stlye/size bead head bugger in red.
If you are fishing here from late march through June, you want a bunch of red stuff from big to small,from fuchsia and flashy to dark red and plain.
I’m not sure if its the clarity of the water, the angle of the sun or what, but messing around with this color can be super interesting.
Now the bead head bugger is obviously as bread and butter as it gets. Only unlike the bugger you generally buy in the fly shop, I tie mine on a real hook, with schlappen for hackle, and with a big tungsten bead.
I tie these in every color combination you can imagine, egg sucking leach, pink and white, black and blue, yada yada yada. A great hook for it is a Daiichi 1710 in a #2.
You can tie like a million of them pretty quick, keep them super sparse and they sink like crazy, you can fish them everywhere.
#4 Ally’s shrimp
I know! You take one glance at the picture and its obvious that this ally is heavily influenced by both Dick Van Demarks low water summer flys and that famous irish angler/fly tier, Mickey Finn.
Here is the deal, when you get on some slightly over fished winter runs, especially in off colored water this fly can crush. Seriously, size 6 even if you only have 20 inches of visibility. Bump bump,…….bump…..pull. They just can’t help but mess with it even if they really know better
I think Dick Van Demarks book on low water steelhead flies is an excellent source of alternative patterns. If you check them out you will find tons of bugs that share a lot of characteristics with the Ally. I have used many of them over the years in some cases with tremendous success for both summers and winters.
#5 Knudsons reverse spider. Its not a coastal NW fly box without one in it. In the last few years they have been available commercially tied in fly shops but only in the black body/white hackle. Thats a great fly, but lets be serious, you need some other colors. Most importantly the red body for the puget sound and hood canal. Also most importantly the yellow body for estuaries and coastal rivers. Also, also, most importantly the chartreuse body.
The ones I tied for this box have amherst hackle, which is a good way to go. I often use just whatever old duck feather I can find, and maybe prefer it that way. I feel like this fly is supposed to be a nuts and bolt fish catcher with no bells or whistles. The amherst looks great and fishes great, but maybe its a little too fancy.
#6, the caddis, and #7, the bucktail
I included a beaded and non beaded caddis pupa. Yes, every fly shop has caddis pupa, but I can rarely find them big enough and the hook is generally not up to par.
The tungsten bead head pupa on the octopus hook is a special purpose fly for me. Awesome at motivating dour summer salmon, but much too good for cutthroat.
The other caddis pupa is lightly weighted and a really really good summer steelhead catcher. I can’t tell you how many times I have had summer runs refuse a different fly and then swim over and eat this thing like food.
I tie it with kind of pale dubbing and some kind of brown soft feather. Preferably bird, but if thats unavailable any feather will do.
I have tied them entirely out of grouse, using the fluff from the feather bases as dubbing and then the saddles for hackle. They work great. It seems like this fly should be a little bit of a mess, because the actually pupa is a bit of a mess, not really one thing or the other.
It took me years to get to this fly, which is stupid. But I started with a lady caroline. Tie some lady carolines some time, its a pain in the ass.
They caught fish for me pretty well though, after a while I started simplifying them more and more.
Pretty soon they resembled a march brown spider more than a lady caroline, and then I noticed the march brown spider looked a bit like a caddis pupa, so I tried that.
The difference in my success was jaw dropping.
The bead head bucktail is a fly that has caught a jillion steelhead for me, its designed to be fast stripped for summer runs but its also a go to for all kinds of salmon and trout.
Its basic, and you can tie it in a million colors and sizes.
This one is the classic “micky finn” color scheme, my favorite.
For a dry fly I threw in a couple of black pom skaters. A super reliable foam and deer hair, but mostly foam dry. I started using these type of foam steelhead dries as “follow up flys” to get fish to eat after they blew up on, but failed to eat, larger hair and feather concoctions.
It became apparent pretty quickly however if you just started with the foam fly, no “follow up” was necessary.
I got done with this box, and it didn’t look right, so I doubled down on a few patterns and added a few variations to get it really stocked.
You can bid here in the comments section, or on Facebook . I will close the auction on Friday, May 15 at 8 pm. I will check here and face book and instagram before I close it.
You can bid with money, services, fire arms, farm animals,farm equipment,artwork, poetry, food, alcohol, or any combination of the aforementioned.