Re: Do you buy or tie?
To get a leg up on fussy fish, nothing beats tying for the local watershed.
Patterns in the catalog are good starting points, but the tweak of a color, or size, or stage, is often the cure for fishlessness. I do buy flies from our hardware store, (nearest shop is 30 miles away) just to keep up with guiding attrition. After 30 years of tying, I'm still a hack, but nothing makes me smile more, than twisting up a fly at lunch and then using it to fool a fish.
I support local tyers as well. A guy named Burk has a shop down in the canyon.
It is astonishing how a creative tyer can help improve your average.
Ultimately, it's not catching fish that satisfies, but knowing how.