Learning new patterns?

Rocking Chair Fan

No more hot spotting
All my flies I tie look like flies that have caught a lot of fish but are new ties. Shredded, out of balance, hackles off kilter etc.. Just the way I like them! We all know tattered flies work best after they have been chewed on by fish...
 
If I can’t tie a decent impression of the fly I am trying to imitate in three tries, I don’t think it is worth the effort. Flies don’t need to be that complicated! I tie flies occassionally for the guy who taught me to fly fish and who doesn’t tie much anymore. Last winter he said he had a new pattern he really liked and would I tie him some. What’s the pattern? “Film critic” he says; size 18 &20. After tying my experimental limit of 3, I had to tell him to buy his own damn flies! No small fly needs to have that many materials and tying steps.
 

mcswny

Active Member
If I can’t tie a decent impression of the fly I am trying to imitate in three tries, I don’t think it is worth the effort. Flies don’t need to be that complicated! I tie flies occassionally for the guy who taught me to fly fish and who doesn’t tie much anymore. Last winter he said he had a new pattern he really liked and would I tie him some. What’s the pattern? “Film critic” he says; size 18 &20. After tying my experimental limit of 3, I had to tell him to buy his own damn flies! No small fly needs to have that many materials and tying steps.
ha! yep, same pattern that started this thread for me. After about 3-4, I found to REALLY enjoy tying this fly. It's super buggy, and I actually enjoy tying them in sizes 18-20. But then again, I'm tying them for the Metolius so I definitely need my emergers to be that small.
 

mcswny

Active Member
The OP poses an interesting question that goes to different philosophical approaches to tying flies. I am coining new terms here just to make this point. There are the “replicators” (a philosophy that the OP seems to adhere to)—those tiers who try to replicate patterns in every detail. There are “innovators”—those tiers who are constantly messing with pattern details/styles with new materials, colors and techniques. An finally there are the “stylists”—those tiers who stay true to a style of fly but not to rigid pattern details. We are all probably a bit of each, but one of these philosophies is dominate in each of us. An Air Force veteran and successful Florida fishing guide friend of mine has this simple set of rules for a successful fly: It must be easy to tie, It must be durable, and It must catch fish. Flies that don’t adhere to these rules might be “artful” but they aren’t much use on the water.

I consider myself in the “stylist” camp. My fly boxes might contain a dozen or more Gurglers, but none are exactly the same nor do they follow the “original” Gartside recipe. Getting the style right is important, getting all the original pattern details is not. Master the style not the pattern. There is one truth I’ve learned in 60+ years of fly tying and fly fishing. Fish don’t read books, visit fly shops, watch You Tube or go to fly tying demonstrations.
I think you missing one more thing that a fly must do: Give you confidence. I understand thats somewhat related to "it must catch fish" but there's a subtle difference between catching fish and being confident you'll catch fish. I can catch a fish while not actually being confident I'll catch more fish. You fish very differently with confidence then without (or at least I do). There's 1 fly in my box that I tied a dozen or so, that I've caught some fish on, but I still have ZERO confidence in. After two years, I finally gave those all away this weekend.
 

redband02

Member
+1 for kmudgen, "goodenuf" flies are "goodenuf" for me and they all catch fish. See Lee Wulff's "Lee Wulff on Flies" book where he ties the "Wretched Mess" fly with scraps from the fly bench. Then he goes out the next day and took many trout on that fly
 

Mike Bacca

Active Member
One of the first flies I tied looked like a cat crapped it out, but I caught a 26 inch, 6 lb 7 oz rainbow in it so every fly I tie goes in my box. The fish don't care if the fly is going to win a beauty contest it just cares that looks like food.
 

ScottP

Active Member
If you’re happy with your flies you’ll fish them with more confidence, but I wouldn’t get to wrapped up in tying perfect flies; that’ll come with time and practice. Fish are pretty stupid; I’m always surprised at some of the shit they’ll bite on.

Regards,
Scott
 

Kirk Singleton

Capt Kirk
I tie at least a dozen of a pattern in every size that I want. I typically modify all my patterns from the original pattern. All of them end up in my box. when I go fishing I fish with my ugly examples first!
 

Jesseg122

Active Member
The fist one usually goes in the box. Any pattern I do I will tie up about 3-6 of them as trial flies. If they don't work for me then I didn't waste too much of materials. If they did work and I ran out of them then I have a reason to tie more lol
 

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