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Old 08-26-2013, 02:59 PM
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Default Fly selection for nOOb......

Ok, some of you know I'm new to FF and that my 10 year old son and I are diving head first into this new hobby. We don't tie our own flies and not sure if I ever will (still need to start my reloading first). We will be buying our flies for the forseeable future. I want my son to be active when picking out his gear to make it more fun for him as well.

We live in SoCal and will be fishing in the Sierras and Rockies. Sme fishing in local ponds and lakes that hold bass and bluegill too. I have a very basic grasp on works for trout but would like a little more detail on specifics.

Several questions:

1. Where is a reasonable place to by flies. My local shop has lots to choose from with prices around $1.90 each. Is this price good or a bit high. They tie their own flies in house.

2. What size hooks for my fishing locations? For dry and nymphs? Is variety in size the best option?

3. Saw places like BPS that have many of the "standard" flies like Adams, Elk Hares, Pheasant Tails, etc, for $13 for a dozen. Just over a buck a fly on flies that I may use often. Almost seems hard to pass up.

As much info as you are willing to give would be very helpful. I don't mind spending a little more to get a good core base of flies all at one time to start building our inventory.

Also, if any of you that tie flies and sell them I'd buy from you too.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Fly selection for nOOb......

Quote:
Originally Posted by skrap View Post
Ok, some of you know I'm new to FF and that my 10 year old son and I are diving head first into this new hobby. We don't tie our own flies and not sure if I ever will (still need to start my reloading first). We will be buying our flies for the forseeable future. I want my son to be active when picking out his gear to make it more fun for him as well.

We live in SoCal and will be fishing in the Sierras and Rockies. Sme fishing in local ponds and lakes that hold bass and bluegill too. I have a very basic grasp on works for trout but would like a little more detail on specifics.

Several questions:

1. Where is a reasonable place to by flies. My local shop has lots to choose from with prices around $1.90 each. Is this price good or a bit high. They tie their own flies in house.

2. What size hooks for my fishing locations? For dry and nymphs? Is variety in size the best option?

3. Saw places like BPS that have many of the "standard" flies like Adams, Elk Hares, Pheasant Tails, etc, for $13 for a dozen. Just over a buck a fly on flies that I may use often. Almost seems hard to pass up.

As much info as you are willing to give would be very helpful. I don't mind spending a little more to get a good core base of flies all at one time to start building our inventory.

Also, if any of you that tie flies and sell them I'd buy from you too.

Thanks in advance.
1. That is a pretty good price for flies plus your local shop will give you great advice on when and where and how to use them.

2. Find out what fly and what sizes work from your local shop. That is the best way to get started.

3. BPS can sell ok flies but your local shop will guide you better on which of those flies will work best for you. When I go fishing anywhere, one of the first things I do is visit the local fly shop, buy some flies that they recommend and hang out and talk. Most employees at fly shops love to talk and the more they talk, the more secrets they tell...lol!
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: Fly selection for nOOb......

mridenour has it covered.

$1.90 for in house, hand tied flies is a pretty solid price by my standard. There are cheaper alternatives but generally alternatives don't last as long and often use lesser quality hooks and materials. I don't usually have the highest hopes for flies bought online, perhaps the exception being Idylwilde Flies. I buy when I can't tie due to time constraints and or can't do a certain pattern. I do like to buy locally from the shops in the places I visit or frequent. Having a good relationship with your local fly shop and destination fly shop is priceless especially for a nOOb.

I've ordered from Hills Discount Flies and The Fly Stop when I want to stock up on staples, but I do tie as much as I can and as often as possible.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: Fly selection for nOOb......

When I travel, I seek out fly shops for the pleasure of looking around and chatting up the guys who work there. Sometimes I find something I can't live without, sometimes not so much. But if I'm on a fishing trip, that visit is a lot more serious. Who else would know better than the guys who are immersed in fly fishing all day long. They know what is working, and they take it as a complement if you ask them what to use. I'll buy a few flies at the very least, but always get enough to last through the trip. I may duplicate some flies I already have with me, but they'll get used or passed around when I get home. If I like them enough, they become patterns to tie when I get home.
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:58 AM
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Default Re: Fly selection for nOOb......

Skrap:

There is one difficulty with commercially produced flies that you should be informed about. Many commercial tiers, when they tie nymphs, streamers, "wets" generally, don't bother to weight their flies.
This sames them time and money.

Unfortunately, it often means your commercially purchased fly looks good, but won't go down very far.

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Old 08-27-2013, 06:47 AM
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Default Re: Fly selection for nOOb......

I going to probably go against the flow on the advice I'll pass along to you. Most of the time, most of the places, most of the fish aren't all that selective. If you put the fly where the fish can see it, and make it look at least semi plausible, at least some of the fish will take your fly.

That being said, you don't need a ton of different flies to catch fish. I personally think you are better off choosing a handful of generic looking patterns, and learning to fish them well. One fly that comes to mind is the elk hair caddis. It looks a bit like alot of different things - a caddis fly, a grasshopper, a mayfly cripple, etc. It can be fish dead drift, skated, twitched, swung like a soft hackle, etc. For me, the most productive sizes are 12 - 14.

My pretty much one and only sub-surface fly is something called a Chicago Leech. It may be difficult or impossible to find is the problem. It was shown to me by Carl Richards, author of Selective trout. He said it was the best wet fly he ever fished, and he fished it very extensively, at the expense of the exact patterns he spent the majority of his life developing. Again, this fly looks like alot of different things, and its pretty much impossible to fish it so it doesn't catch fish. If you can find a source, the sparser the fly is tied, the better. This is a very easy fly to tie, if you ever want to start tying your own, this is a good one to start the process.

There may be sometimes when having a specific fly is advantageous. A generic looking fly may take a few fish, but a more realistic fly will work better. These situations are the exception on most waters. Your local fly shop can help what, where, and most importantly when.

So if you want to ignore the above, it's ok, I understand. Here's one thing you don't want to ignore. The biggest mistake you can make is to buy a dozen or two of a dozen or two different flies. If you are fishing with the only copy of a pattern in your box, you will soon become a very frustrated fisher person. You will spend alot of time switching from pattern to pattern, and its pretty much certain that when you do find a fly and start catching fish, you will lose the only one of that fly you have. However you decide to go, make sure you have 3 or 4 of whatever fly pattern you choose.

p.s. For bass and bluegill, it's pretty tough to go wrong with fishing a sponge spider on top, and something along the lines of a Bully spider if you want it to sink. Your trout flies work fine too, although they tend to get chewed up pretty quick.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:26 AM
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Default Re: Fly selection for nOOb......

If you are diving head first, you may want to dive into fly tying as well. It's a hell of a lot easier than you might think, and your son will probably love it.

If you both take to it, I'm sure you will find that its a great father-son passtime at night or when you cant get out fishing. It may just be the start of a connection that lasts a lifetime.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:36 AM
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Default Re: Fly selection for nOOb......

Quote:
Originally Posted by pszy22 View Post
I going to probably go against the flow on the advice I'll pass along to you. Most of the time, most of the places, most of the fish aren't all that selective. If you put the fly where the fish can see it, and make it look at least semi plausible, at least some of the fish will take your fly.

That being said, you don't need a ton of different flies to catch fish. I personally think you are better off choosing a handful of generic looking patterns, and learning to fish them well. One fly that comes to mind is the elk hair caddis. It looks a bit like alot of different things - a caddis fly, a grasshopper, a mayfly cripple, etc. It can be fish dead drift, skated, twitched, swung like a soft hackle, etc. For me, the most productive sizes are 12 - 14.

My pretty much one and only sub-surface fly is something called a Chicago Leech. It may be difficult or impossible to find is the problem. It was shown to me by Carl Richards, author of Selective trout. He said it was the best wet fly he ever fished, and he fished it very extensively, at the expense of the exact patterns he spent the majority of his life developing. Again, this fly looks like alot of different things, and its pretty much impossible to fish it so it doesn't catch fish. If you can find a source, the sparser the fly is tied, the better. This is a very easy fly to tie, if you ever want to start tying your own, this is a good one to start the process.

There may be sometimes when having a specific fly is advantageous. A generic looking fly may take a few fish, but a more realistic fly will work better. These situations are the exception on most waters. Your local fly shop can help what, where, and most importantly when.

So if you want to ignore the above, it's ok, I understand. Here's one thing you don't want to ignore. The biggest mistake you can make is to buy a dozen or two of a dozen or two different flies. If you are fishing with the only copy of a pattern in your box, you will soon become a very frustrated fisher person. You will spend alot of time switching from pattern to pattern, and its pretty much certain that when you do find a fly and start catching fish, you will lose the only one of that fly you have. However you decide to go, make sure you have 3 or 4 of whatever fly pattern you choose.

p.s. For bass and bluegill, it's pretty tough to go wrong with fishing a sponge spider on top, and something along the lines of a Bully spider if you want it to sink. Your trout flies work fine too, although they tend to get chewed up pretty quick.
I don't think you are disagreeing with what anyone has said. Since he is starting off with nothing, if he goes to the local shop or a shop at a destination he will be fishing, they will most likely have him buying pheasant tails, scuds, wooly buggers and elk hair caddis flies or other commonly used flies that can be fished all over the place. Maybe he will pick up a specialty fly for that area but most of the time they are flies he can use most anywhere.

Always buy enough of each fly so that when you break one off, hang one in a tree, realize you have been fishing ten minutes without a fly or whatever that you have more. You only run out of the ones the fish are biting on!
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: Fly selection for nOOb......

Good advice from all. I just have on addition.

If you do buy the cheaper mail order flies:

1. Get yourself a bottle of Sally Hansen's clear nail polish and use the tip of a sewing needle to coat where the tying thread as been tied off behind the hook eye.

2. Get a diaper pin and put it on a zinger or in your vest. You will need it if the hook eye has been sealed with head cement.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: Fly selection for nOOb......

Going from fly buyer to fly tyer I've learned that I really only need to tie about 8 patterns. Though I have mats to tie 100s. Pheasant tails, prince nymphs, copper john, pink squirrels, "trout carrots", brassies, simi leeches, elk hair caddis, and adams is what I use 95% of the time.
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