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Old 03-05-2013, 05:38 PM
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Default Re: Buying flies on a budget...

there are numerous threads about budget flies, I'd do a search were I you. My favorite right now is, but there are many others, and everyone has their favorite.

As for number of different patterns, for myself, I'd start around 6. Three or four subsurface patterns and two or three dry. For example:

Black or brown wooley bugger and/or same colors simi seal leeches

some kind of beadhead nymph such as hare's ear, pheasant tail, copper john, etc. in sz 16 or 18

same type of nymph as above but without beadheads

clouser or zonker minnow

An Adams variant (I tend towards parachutes, but this is fielder's choice)


It's pretty well established that these kinds of flies will work almost anywhere in the U.S. Of course, it would be great if you could find a source of information in Maine concerning the actual waters you'd be fishing, but some combination of the above will probably work.

I have what I call my "New Water" box, which usually contains this assortment:

6-8 BH black crystal buggers #6
6-8 BH brown simi seal leeches # 8
6-8 olive beadhead hare's ear #16
6-8 BH prince nymphs #16
6-8 BH zugbugs #14
6-8 black copper johns #18
6-8 pheasant tails #18
2-4 clousers #6 white/olive
2-4 clousers #6 white chartreuse
2-3 zonker minnows white
6-8 para-Adams #16 (or #18 if I know the water's clear and shallow)
6-8 para-BWO #16 (ditto above)
6-8 yellow hoppers #10
6-8 orange rubber legged stimulators #16
6-8 yellow stimulators #14

Naturally, I switch different patterns in and out, depending on expected conditions, but most of these are there. Everyone probably has a different take on this, but the point is that I planned a specific assortment of flies to cover the water from top to bottom, stillwater, or moving, which should give me a shot at some hits from freshwater fish regardless of where I am in the U.S.

Note: I go fewer numbers and more colors on flies like leeches, buggers, and CJs as they tend to last longer. Dries tend to last only a couple of fish before they either snap off or get torn up. And the hoppers are in there because they are my 'goto' fly and I can't hit the water without them.

Anyway, that's about 78 flies I think, and at the flystop, that comes to about 48 bucks.

Hope that helps.


P.S. I've been tying for about four years now, and I like tying for a variety of reasons. One of them is definitely NOT saving money. At this point I probably have at least $700 invested in fly tying including vise, materials, tools, etc. and have tied somewhere north of 1000 flies. If you figure the average cost of just materials per fly, I haven't even broken even, and probably won't until sometime in 2017. And that assumes not buying any more materials, which is about as likely as a Bigfoot para-sailing through my bedroom window sometime in the next 40 years.

I primarily tie flies that I can't find in the stores that I feel work better than anaything I've found in the stores so far. Things like my magnum Deep Purple simi seal leeches with tungsten beadheads. The things probably cost .70 cents just in materials, nevermind time spent. So the short answer to your question is no, tying will not save you any money. But it's fun, pulls you deeper into the obsession of fly fishing, and sometimes you find one of your creations is a 'goto' fly.

Also, I'm sure I have around a hundred flies I could give you. Pm me with your address and I'll find some time in the week or so and see if I can hunt them up and get them out to you.


Whoops, totally forgot about the cost of buying my first tying desk, then building the second. Call it $800. Might be 2020 before I get even.
"Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." ~Chuck Clark

Last edited by rangerrich99; 03-05-2013 at 10:01 PM.
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