First I must remind you what my current dry fly box looks like. Or did look like before I did a little spring cleaning. Here it is:
It came a little early, but I got what I publicly demanded for my birthday. Or at least one of the many things I asked for. And now it looks much more organized. The two downsides now are 1) that it actually now appears like I have fewer flies, and 2) I have more space to fill so I need to tie some more!
So I've gone back to tying flies this past week. I haven't really sat the at the tying desk for quite some time other than a few instances to tie up some steelhead monstrosities. And then only because I had donated most of my supply to the riverbed. But the air is again beginning to whisper about good times in Montana. Fish to be caught, sun rays to soak up (weather permitting), good company to be had, and all that good stuff. That air has blown me back to my fly tying desk. Not because I'm in desperate need of flies for a looming trip, but because I'm excited about a somewhat distant trip and tying up some flies is one fun way to release that excited anxiety.
The problem, however, that tying flies has created is that my new creations don't fit in my dry fly box. You would think that means I'm well stocked, but you would be wrong. My dry box is pretty small and there are a lot of bugs in the world that trout eat. Sure, eight and a half times out of ten I have what I need. But those last one and a half times of ten are monumentally frustrating. Those are the times where there are fish surfacing all around me, eating fly after fly in the darkening half-light of the encroaching dusk but refusing my offering time and time and time and time and time again. That's what I'd like to be prepared to avoid.
This brings me to a dilemma. I have way too many dry flies to fit in my fly box, but the whole point is to have all these patterns on hand.
There are two possible solutions. One would be to spend countless days on the water and drastically improve my angling skills to the point where I only require a couple patterns. The other would simply require I acquire a new and larger fly box. One of those is easy and one is hard. Can you tell which path I intend to follow?
Last week I was expecting a package and wanted to have it left at my front door. In order to do this I went to UPS's website and signed up for an account. That's when things got a bit creepy. To my knowledge I have never given certain bits of personal info to UPS, yet info they already have!
I'm not usually overly concerned about Big Brother or the lack of privacy we all suffer from these days, but this did leave me feeling just a bit exposed.
What on God's green earth is this thing I have created? Well, after a few weeks of steelhead fishing my steelhead fly supply is getting a bit thin. Not that I've been breaking off so many steelhead, though, unfortunately. It's just a matter of time before you donate each bit of gear to a rock or something else on the bottom of the river. All but a few of my store-bought steelhead flies, by now, have met such an end.
And being new to steelhead fishing I have no idea what constitutes a steelhead fly. What I have gathered so far is that it really doesn't matter. It's sort of like a carp fly: as long as you can get the thing in front of a fish, you've got a chance regardless of what is tied on the hook. Within reason, of course. And I'm sure there will be those who argue I'm wrong and they may well be right.
So I sat down this week to tie up some random flies with whatever materials I had lying around. Here is one of the monstrosities that I produced. It's probably better that the fly is out of focus.