Fly pattern do you carry. I know we had the how many boxes do you carry thread. I am really trying to minimalize what I carry but I found I threw the third and 4th flybox in the hip pack tonight in anticipation of the annual big day trip to Wyoming tomorrow.
I have tried to consolidate patterns over the last few years for simplicity and then just vary the sizes and colors of each. For example I try to carry the following patterns for Colorado fishing
EHC, Parachute Adams ,BWO, Yellow Stimulator, Royal Coachman and a few PMD's
PT,Hares Ear ,Barr emerger, Copper John, Zwing Caddis, Tarheel caddis, Prince nymph and hot wire prince nymph
Poison Tung, WD40, disco midge,RS2, various little thread midges with or without glass beads.
I think Ive done a decent job of limiting it to 5-7 different patterns in each category. Here is the big wrinkle, I lose and loan (give away) alot of flies so I try to carry a dozen of everything. Real problem is the various sizes and colors thing I mentioned.So I will have a dozen of size 16,18 barr emerger BWO, Same in Barr Emerger PMD....bead head, non beadhead. Natural hares ear bead / no bead, olive hares ear bead / no bead....etc etc etc. You can see where it all adds up a dozen at a time.
Oh dont forget the tin of streamers and san juan worms too.
Should I just tell my buddies to stuff it and go buy some flies so I can ligthen my load, or just admit I am neurotic and fly fishing feeds the neuroces like Pez Candy from a dispenser ?
Perfect example the other day I went through 8 of one mige pattern in 3 hours. 4 were lost in trees or logs and rocks, 2 fish busted me off, 1 midge fell apart and 1 I flat dropped in the river. Glad I had 12 because the fsh were hammering those midges.
Are you comfotable leaving the house with just 3 of your go to patterns or 6,9,12 etc etc. ???
You would probably have a panic attack if you saw my trout box. It is tiny and has plenty of singles. I have duplicates of my go to flies but no more than 3 of the same fly.
I fairly recently have branched out from almost strictly trout and have a much bigger 2 sided box which has one side for bass and another for reds. Once I figure out this redfish thing completely I am sure I will grab a small reds only box to organize. Bass I only mess around with on occasion, not really my thing. Red fishing is my new endeavor.
I'm not sure I have ever lost more than a couple flies in a day of fishing (knock on wood).
I say bring the flies. Like you said, if you're aiming in a real tight hole you're bound to lose a couple. If you're with some buddies, I know I'd appreciate a fly or two that are on fire that day, and I'd hope they're the same way.
If you're going on a big annual trip than bring it all. You'd be pissed if you snagged a couple of on fire flies and then had none in your box (and had a dozen more in your kit a couple hundred miles away).
If you're heading up to the back country, then go ahead and consolidate down to a box.
Bring all you're flies, and bring a bottle of jamison instead of a case of beer to lighten your load.
The reality is... (jeeze, another one of MP's reality rants)...
...that you need to a higher quantity of flies that you will have the most confidence in fishing. The probability of you tying on that pattern, then losing it, then retying another one is very high because you have confidence in it.
Here's another reality. How well do you know the area's current entomology status? Is it going to be mayfly heavy? If so, which mayfly? How about caddis? Size? Color? How about baitfish?
Think about it this way. If you know that the waters that you fish are caddis rich, load up the box with more caddis. If there are minor hatches of various mayflies, make sure to have some sort of pattern representations. If you can't resist throwing big stonefly nymphs and buggers, pack a few of those, too.
Now think about how you are going to fish. Are you going to be throwing more dry flies? Will you be nymphing more? Streamers? Figure what your main plan of attack is, then pack more of those flies.
Which brings me back to confidence. If you know the entomology, you will be confident on which bug will be the most prevalent. Add more of those patterns. For that given set of water, you will be confident on which technique to use. If you know that most of the action will be subsurface, you will make a mental note to have more nymphs.
I have a fly box for each stream or lake I fish with another box containg buggers,streamers,leeches etc. that I carry all the time.. In each box is 6 flys in two sizes of each pattern for that particular stream or lake that are proven patterns no matter the weather or water level. Its a system that works for me for over twenty years. My best fishing buddy wouldn't leave the house without a dozen fly boxes, so you see its what works for you not someone else.
I carry to many patterns but find thats what makes me comfortable in believing that i am not going to get skunked.Ihave a streamer box and 3 nymph/dry fly boxes all just about full probably 75 different patterns and i usually use about 5 but thats just me.
I pretty much have what you have. A FF nut friend gave me 2 cases of must have flies for Colorado, and I just keep that up and replacing the ones I have used. They will cover most situations.
BUT, I always find a fly shop where I am going to fish and load up with dries for whatever is hatching at the time and some addition nymphs of whatever the local fish seem to be eating the most.
I have the best results from putting on a locally favored nymph and then some other nymph 2 feet off that fly that has some flash in the body to attract attention in that area and then comes the trout cheeseburger.
This thread is a bit of a relief to me because I thought I was the only person left who carried a bunch of patterns and who did not go minimalist! I used to have my flys spread out among a bunch of boxes. Spouse bought me a very nice Wheatley 32 compartment box last Christmas and I added another with 16 compartments on one side and foam on the other. I decided I was going to get everything organized so was inspired by one of David Hughes' books about having two boxes that go everywhere. So, the two Wheatleys have about 50 patterns of various sizes representing life stages of caddis, mayflies, stoneflies and midges. I bring 6 of each. I also have two boxes of lake flies, two for trout, and one for spring creeks. So I grab the two main boxes + whatever specialty boxes and off I go. It worked well this year and unlike past years I have yet to regret not bringing a certain box with me.
I also carry two boxes for steelhead with two or three of each size I need. I store all of my steelhead flies in boat boxes because I do not have a lot of time to make more during the season so I tie up a lot during spring. I tie a half dozen of each size for each pattern and use about 20 patterns. That being said I have four patterns that I use 75% of the time, and one of those is about 50%.