One of my fishing buddies was the R&D guy for McKenzie Flies in Eugene ( before the company went belly up). He spent a lot of time cruising fabric, hobby and craft stores looking for possible fly tying material. Every now and then he'd send me something he found and asked what I thought about using the material for fly tying.
We'd tie some experimental patterns and give them a try. If the material worked, he'd contact the wholesaler of the material and the next thing you know, it was repackaged as fly tying material and sold at fly shops, at an increased price, of course.
You guys may also want to look into Ryon embroidery threads and yarns for body material.
I'm on a constant hunt for tying materials at fabric and craft stores... not to mention my brother's hobby shop. The first realistic yellow doll eyes (with a post) I found for my bass poppers were sold at craft stores.... once I published a few pattern articles that showed the use of the eyes, oddly enough, the eyes ended up sold in fly shops and I could no longer find them at craft stores.
Much of the fly tying material we use did not start out as a product for tying flies.
Just like to give you a hard time, and others I know. I chironomid fish too, just not as often. Trust me, I know how effective it is. I just like watching a trout come up and suck my fly off the surface more. My friend, Mark, catches more and bigger fish than I ever will with his chironomids.
I know what you mean Gene, I used to feel that way too and only used them when other methods weren't working, but as the years go by I find myself enjoying it more and more and look forward to watching my indie disappear. As we all know, when it's working...... It's working big time!!!!
It's been a slower progression than some, but I'm ready to announce that I am flat out in love with watching that little green (Yes Ira, it's GREEN and I like it, damnit!) float take a dive. At this point I can say with certainty that I prefer it over any other method of catching fish on a lake. That's not to say I won't use other methods.... At the end of the day, I love to catch fish. Nature is great, and seeing the birds/trees/plants/flowers/insects/squirrels etc... is just dandy. But damnit, I like to catch fish, and I will do whatever it takes to do so with a fly rod. If that means stripping soft hackles on a floating line, great. Fishing leeches on an intermediate? Awesome. I don't care. I just want to catch em.... But, all things being equal, damn do I enjoy watching that bobber go down.
Plus, there is a very good argument to be made that if a guy was to employ just a single tactic that a floating line with an indi may be the most versatile. My eye's have truly been opened this past year or so to what an incredibly versatile method it truly is.
I like Nicks post! I'm in the same mind thought when it comes to fishing. I am a very competitive person because of playing and managing sports most my life and when it comes to fishing it's me against the fish. I'm learning now in my 50's to slow down and smell the roses like my father always told me I needed to do, but by god for some 35 years of fishing I payed attention to nothing but water and fish and still get in that trance more often than not.
The bobber - indicator - technique rules because you have no other line between you and the fish - no other line to spook fish in the area. the reason it works so well is the straight down presentation does not spook large smart fish. keeps the fly in the exact feeding lanes the whole time fishing and detects the slightest of nibbles or just a nudge from smart weary fish.
I learned in stillwater steelhead fishing that sinking (colored or clear) lines spook fish and will make them avoid the area if anchored and cast to over and over. they learn pretty darn fast to avoid the area - causing fear! indicator fishing with full fluorocarbon leaders straight down spooks no other fish in the area and allows your fly to stay in the "GOOD FEEDING AREA" and have fish keep coming to that area. to me there is no other presentation in fly fishing that allows this but dry fly fishing and we know that the lakes are not boiling with rising fish all the time.
I once watched an 8 pound rainbow go to a # 16 nymph in the surface film "stop" about 2 or 3 inches away and inspect it for what seemed like forever (but it was more likely 10 or 15 seconds) before slowly going back down to the 8 feet of water I rose him in. big trophy trout are not stupid! at times they may be but for the most part are very spooky "SMART" fish. I have always tried to target waters with 20" trout and larger - it was a rule of mine and still is for the last 30 years. To me it's a whole different ball game then creek fishing for 12 inchers otherwise I probably would of quit fishing for trout when I hit my 20's. this is hard to do west of the casecades but I traveled for 15 years and got spoiled in all the other western states that have truly great trout fishing.
I wont be going to the henry's fork and throwing indicators and pissing off the suit and ties that fish there but when it comes to lakes, I see no better way to fish for big fish.