The holidays are over and the probable grey skies of Winter have settled in (in certain parts of the world you are gleefully venturing out into your Summer’s delight) and the doldrums loom. Wanderlust inserts itself. Each year, I suggest fly tying classes at shops or a community college or club. Also, there are now a lot of worthy on line tutors to peruse and learn from. Now is a good time to start charting out what you need to tie for the next season and to set to work to fill the fly boxes with those patterns. First, an inventory is in order.

Fly Box Cubes SBThis inventory will in large part be eased by how organized you started last year and maintained that through the season. If you finished like me…somewhat disorganized…then the first part of the process might be to reorganize your fly boxes/containers according to your normal labeling: nymphs, dries etc. or perhaps even more specific than that. Some years I over organize and other years I go simple (say two boxes “nymphs/wets” & “dry”) and ease my mind from too much analysis. Either way make it your comfortable way. 

SwittersB tying  1992
Ah ‘Vintage’ SwittersB tying, circa 1992 or so, in an old photo darkroom.

Once your inventory and fly tying to do list is complete then inventory your materials for each pattern and enjoy the process of preparing for the coming season. This time of year, I often make discoveries of what I tied and never used, what I tied with high hopes and was a fizzle for that season at least.

My wife dreads this time of year because this is when I tend to spread out, now that the holidays are over, into parts of the house that are warmer and less isolated. Messes can ensue and then the banter commences. This year I will try to contain my tying and subsequent macro photography work to more manageable limits…at least that is the good intention.

BWO PMD 16 SwittersBThese types of patterns, PMD’s and BWO’s (Pale Morning Duns & Blue Winged Olives) with exacting quill and biot bodies and upright wings and perfect tails are mentally challenging for me and may I say this heretical comment…they have never proved worth the fuss in effort for me over 30 years of tying. I try this every few years and do so because well, you are suppose to be able to tie and fish such patterns because they are ‘better’ imitations. Hmmm? 

I think it’s part of the art form of fly tying that challenges us to tie exacting patterns to perfect our skills and be able to say we can/did tie such classic styles. For me the practical intrudes and perhaps laziness too. I derive no satisfaction from tying exacting patterns: Atlantic Salmon artsy flies or these detailed dry flies. Just me though. Have at it if it gives you that crafting pleasure.