Fly boxes don’t lie.

Attractor - Fly Box

Physical distance (thousands of miles) has separated myself and a good friend and prohibited our communion on the water.  So it was with some anticipation and excitement that I made the trip to one of our favorite old haunts to meet up with him.

Arriving at the trailhead to find Steve already waiting for me, we merrily greeted each other, rigged up our rods while catching up on current family news, and then headed up the trail toward our destination.  Steve had his usual vest on, loaded and complete with the kitchen sink, and he labored under the weight (sweat mostly, because it was HOT).  I on the other hand have long since ditched my old vest, and have pared my “carry-all” down to “minimalists” proportions, so I pranced along the trail with just a small chest pack on.

This fact was not lost on Steve, and he soon began interrogating me on how it was that I could carry all I needed in such a tiny package.  This conversation continued in general terms until we reached our destination, and that’s when the fly boxes eventually came out.  As I pulled the first small six compartment box out of my pack, Steve stopped perusing his monster box and looked at me dumbfounded.

“Let me see that!”

I sheepishly handed over the box, already knowing what was to come.  Steve peered into each compartment window, and a knowing smile soon formed, that turned into an accusing chuckle.

“There’s nothing in this but attractors!”

“Yeah, so.  That’s my attractor box.”

“You got another box in there?”

“Of course I do.”

“Let’s see it,” Steve said holding out his hand and staring at the ground while shaking his head in disgust.

A lot of stalling and nervous laughter ensued on my part, but eventually I pulled another small box from my tiny pack and handed it over.  Steve repeated his previous examination procedure and began heartily laughing.

“Let me get this straight.  You call yourself the Dry Fly Guy, but almost all you’ve got in your boxes are attractors?  Whatever happened to matching the hatch?”

There was no denying it.  Almost all the flies I carried that day were attractors.

Now in my defense, I knew the water well, and knew that as long as you haven’t spooked them with your approach or a bad cast, the Brookies in this water will generally attack anything.  So fly selection wasn’t likely to be much of an issue.

Mammoth Creek

Photo courtesy of Visit Southern Utah

Of course, the fact that I out-fished Steve by every measure he came up with (i.e., prettiest, largest, smallest, and most) didn’t hurt in defending my fly boxes either.

Sometimes it’s just better to be smart, than knowledgeable.



8 thoughts on “Fly boxes don’t lie.

  1. Marty
    September 2, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I carry a lot of attractors….. rising to a Wulff is still rising…..

    1. Dry Fly Guy
      September 2, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Marty: I couldn’t agree more.
      After your post on the DFF regarding tying Wulffs, I tied up a number of “Grays” and added them to a box. Time will tell if they remain there.

      ~ DFG

    2. DaveV
      November 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Do you fish any White Wulff’s out your way Marty ?

      1. Marty
        November 28, 2013 at 11:42 am

        Yes Dave. Especially in the gloaming That last few minutes where can still just barely make out a dry can be magic….
        The browns on the local tailwater will take a will smash a skated white wulff late evening in high summer

  2. mclabrook
    September 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    A big brown coming up for a big pmx is a beautiful thing.

  3. Creek
    September 21, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Who says you need to match a hatch to be a dry fly fisherman? It’s an old myth.

  4. msbfly
    September 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I get a kick out of taking fish on a “match the hatch fly”. Why? I have seen, as all of you have, a fish refuse a natural fly. So what a great way to catch trout that refuses a natural but fall to my(or most likely store bought) fly. LOVE IT!

    OK I will be honest, I get as happy taking any fish on any fly on any day.

    This does raise a question, Why does that fish refuse the natural? Was it because it has been hooked before? Did the fish not want to expend energy to catch that fly knowing something we don’t? How can a natural look “funny” to a fish, it’s a real bug? Mother nature looks and acts more natural than any fly I throw and drift……

  5. wacokid54
    November 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I constantly fall prey to the Sherpa syndrome….need one to carry my vest! Every year I vow to carry fewer patterns, and every year my vest pockets bulge like armrests. Part of my problem is rooted in the fear I will discover the killer fly that day, and only have one! The minimalist in me wins when fishing smaller water, and hatch matcher wins on big water and tailwater. The battle continues.

    Happy Trails
    The Waco Kid

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