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By CarelessEthiopian
#614318
Do you remember when you first started fishing (fly fishing for those that need clarification) and you only had like 8 flies in your box, or film canister, or plastic bag, or whatever you held flies in? Man, we've come a long way.

Most of us here have hundreds or thousands of flies in our stash, some tied, some bought, some gifted, some found. For me and many of you, having been in the business for a long time (yes, you can touch me) the number of flies that have passed through my fingers is staggering. Flies are throwaway items, disposable. When we go fishing, having the right flies or enough flies is not a concern. We have them. Our fishing partners have them. If I need a fly I'll just grab one that you have handy instead of digging through my cole slaw container where I have my daily arsenal. I won't even ask you for it, I'll demand it. I'm sure you would do the same. Just gimme a fucking fly real quick. For a typical outing, fly stock for the group or individual is way less important than beer or weed or sandwich inventory. If we run out of stimulants or depressants or sustenance, the day is over. If we don't have the right fly we will just fish whatever the fuck we have, which is often the MO anyway. And if we don't have any flies at all, or no rods even, then we will sit on the bank and indulge in whatever we have in our packs or in the boat. We're still fishing.

But, those 8 flies in your box. Do you remember those days? It was so different back then. The flies were neatly arranged in one corner of your ripple foam (no offense to you anal retentives that still do that) and each and every one was a precious ticket to your salvation on the stream, in your neoprene waders in July. I hardly ever buy flies any more. It's usually just out of courtesy if I buy an out of state license and hit up the local shop rat for some info that I already knew anyway. I don't buy anything from the local shops, ever. I don't go in there for anything. I know all those guys and they know I'm not their target market. Now that I think about it, I'm not even sure where my flies come from. I don't buy them, and I don't tie all that much. I get some from you losers, but those are mostly novelties. I threw Phil some cash for a grip of streamers this year, but that was not the norm and they should last me a couple years.

I think about my fly stash a lot. It's huge. I give or throw away a few hundred every year. But it's hard to give them up sometimes, even though I know I will never use them. I'm still in touch with the kid that I once was, organizing my box of 8 flies in anticipation for the next day's fishing. Every bug is still important to me. The coolest part is that I can remember individual flies out of the thousands that I have handled. Flies that I tied, or were given to me by a special person, or that caught a special fish or no fish. In the giant mess of my fly supply, each one is special.

There is one fly that I have that brings this home for me every time I see it. It's an albino stone nymph with a latex abdomen and biot tails and legs. I've had this fly for 23 years and never fished it. My dad bought it for me in Lake Placid when I was 13. We were on a ski trip and wandered into a fly shop after dinner one night. That was also the night that I got my first fly fishing vest. I begged and pleaded for it. My dad tried his best to teach me a life lesson that night, thinking that this fly fishing thing was a brief indulgence in my young life, and tried to convince me that the vest was a frivolous purchase. In the end, I won. We talk about that night often, and how things have turned out differently than he thought they would. I walked out of there with a vest and a couple flies, the albino stone among them. It was an early stepping stone of a long, long road. It freaks me out that this one fly has so much meaning for me, and I've never even fished it. It's just one random memory in the tomes of my mind.

I forgot about that fly for a long time, then stumbled upon it several years ago. Since then I've kept it regular rotation in my pack, not to be fished but as a reminder of where I came from and the possibilities that are sometimes unforeseen. I'd love to catch a fish on it someday, but I can't bring myself to tie it on. The memory is more important than any fish it would catch.


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By fatman
#614319
you'd hang that fucker in a cottonwood. high up. first cast. :wink

nice prose....
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By austrotard
#614320
CarelessEthiopian wrote:

Flies that I tied, or were given to me by a special person

have you seen my baseball?



I have hundreds of roy christie's, a few from you lot (mounted) and a couple I forgot to burn at that rustfuck thingy. next year.

flies are gay.
whereas fly boxes are not.
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By CarelessEthiopian
#614321
austrotard wrote:
I have hundreds of roy christie's

Send 'em this way. Lord know you don't need them, O'Shawnessey.

Fly boxes are for estradas, and anals.
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By Woolybug25
#614322
I used to have dozens of fly boxes perfectly organized by species, by watershed, then by size. They were things of beauty and I spent my downtime organizing them.

Then I met you and Scott and all my flies are now in fly shop canisters, plastic baggies, stuck to misc places and scattered across the bottom of my backpack. I find them in the lint trap, my center counsel and in the bed of my truck. The boxes I still use may as well not have any foam, as I just throw them about inside until I can crush the case closed.

Now I spend most of my downtime drinking beer and getting high.

Thanks for that.
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By austrotard
#614323
Woolybug25 wrote: my center counsel
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By SLSS
#614324
I floated/fished with Yard a few days after Christmas.

My first day out since becoming a resident. I'd just sorted, organized, loaded and driven everything we own across the country. Two trips, two drives. I was sick of 85% of what I own, even after dropping a couple dozen loads at Goodwill.

So we rig up and I go with a fly I tied several years ago- a flashy pink tube that's I've caught a coupe dozen fish on- AK, Ny, OR- Steelhead, Silvers, Chum, Dolly's. I had a brief flicker of a thought, Maybe I should tuck this away…. But I was sick of owning stuff, and knew I could tie another.

I lost it to a snag, on a beautiful run, about 1/2 way through the day. I kinda wish I'd kept it.

I've been sorting thousands of flies last couple days. Sorting, ha. I can't organize to save my life, and I'm sentential as all get out. I threw stuff away today I tied in grade school and junior high. Really bad ties. I started on a little machine vise that came in my little kid tool box my dad gave me when I was about 7. My grandmother gave me a Thompson for my 10th(?) birthday. I didn't know another fly fisherman til I started working in a fly shop in college.

Should I have kept it? I'd probably have misplaced it anyway. I'll remember the rivers and the fish. The moments.
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By austrotard
#614325
SLSS wrote:
and I'm sentential as all get out.
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you lot are just taking the piss now.
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By yard4sale
#614327
SLSS wrote:
I've been sorting thousands of flies last couple days. Sorting, ha. I can't organize to save my life, and I'm sentential as all get out. I threw stuff away today I tied in grade school and junior high. Really bad ties. I started on a little machine vise that came in my little kid tool box my dad gave me when I was about 7. My grandmother gave me a Thompson for my 10th(?) birthday. I didn't know another fly fisherman til I started working in a fly shop in college.

Should I have kept it? I'd probably have misplaced it anyway. I'll remember the rivers and the fish. The moments.
Dude, grab those flies. Let's at least go spend a day on the Dshoots with them.
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By stillsteamin
#614330
This went well with the first couple cups of Monday coffee. Appreciate it.

My latex stone was a tan pm wiggler my dad bought for me the morning of what would be the day I caught my first steelhead. I figured a fly named after the river must be worth something right? Pinned it in the ripple foam with the others but somehow never fished it. It stayed with me for over a decade, rolling around from one box to another, and by the time I really noticed it again it had seen too much to be fished. Lost it and the box it was stashed in a couple moves back. It bothered me for awhile but the thought of it means more than the actual fly anyway.
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By Ramcatt
#614334
CarelessEthiopian wrote:Do you remember when you first started fishing (fly fishing for those that need clarification) and you only had like 8 flies in your box, or film canister, or plastic bag, or whatever you held flies in?
yeah... when i showed up at the luau
User avatar
By KilgoreTrout
#614337
Excellent piece of wordcraft. This is the kind of stuff I remember from the Drake of years past.

My first flies were bought in 1994 at Sears, as in big-box store in the mall. They had a pathetic outdoors section and sold a pack of 24 or so hideous Chinese made "flies" in a plastic blister pack. I remember being stupefied that they did not catch fish. Most of them were a variation of tinsel and yellow feathers lopsidely lashed to a size 4 hook.

In the late summer of that year I chanced to be on a Southern Adirondack river when the white fly hatch came off. I was 16 years old. Around here, the white flies (Ephoron leukon) are one of the densest and most impressive hatches you can imagine. The density of airborne insects brings to mind lake effect snow squalls. It's the kind of hatch that is so dense, you almost can't hook a fish due to the sheer number of naturals and the slim odds that your fly will be noticed.

Of course I didn't have anything close to a matching fly, so I flailed the water with useless imitations and watched in impotence as every fish in the river gorged themselves. That Christmas, I was given a fly tying kit. Over the winter I must have tied dozens of horrific looking Ephoron dun imitations, usually on wet fly hooks 3 sizes too big, with mismatched tails, and using hen necks for hackle.

It was 17 years before I solidly hit that hatch again. A lot had changed since then. 4 years in the Army, then college, grad school, wife & kids. It was much like I remember, although the duns were smaller and more elegant that I imagined them.

I still have one of those Sears flies stuck in an old fly box. And one or two of those horrible Ephoron attempts. Last night as I watched my 10 year old try to tie a Muddler, I think how far I've come and how far he has to go.

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