In Part 1 of this blog, I talked about some of the basics for good housekeeping within your fly boxes. Here in Part 2, I am going to discuss two little tricks that have helped me to keep my bugs in order throughout several chaotic guiding seasons. It will take a little extra time to follow these steps, but it is time you will get back when you are not searching forever for the right fly.
Say Goodbye to the Cups
In my opinion, the little disk shaped cups that you cram flies into at the fly shop are not a good place to store flies permanently. They roll around in the bottom of your car, boat, or wade bag, open up unexpectedly, and worst of all, they all look alike. There is nothing more frustrating than searching through a dozen identical fly cups for an eternity to find that last size 20 Renegade that you swore you had, but probably don’t. Put the flies into your organized box system the moment you get home and return that cup to the fly shop where you got it so it can ruin someone’s life other than your own.
I keep a large Simms foam fly patch glued to the lid of my cooler and use it as a staging area for flies that have been in the water. This way I am never tempted to put a fly that is wet or has leftover tippet in its eye back into a box. A single wet bug left in your fly box can introduce enough moisture to rust the other hooks around it, and picking out a new fly that has leftover tippet on it can be more than aggravating when you are in a hurry to fish. Once every three days or so, I take the flies from “death row” into the house and inspect each one for damage and rust. Good flies get placed back into their respective boxes and bad ones get thrown away.
There are numerous advantages of having neat and organized fly boxes, but one of the biggest ones is faster and more efficient fly selection both at the shop when picking out new bugs and on the water when choosing which one to fish with. Nobody is born with neat, tidy fly boxes. It takes a lot of diligence and work to keep your bugs in line. Additionally, the more often you fish and the more flies you have, the harder this can be. I promise you, though, that the payoff is well worth the effort and that once you get your boxes looking good, it will be easier to keep them that way.
Andy “Otter” Smith, Guide and Content Writer