"Making do"/faking it

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I'm sure we all do this. Lots of times you can trim down another fly in your box to resemble something that might work, in order to imitate some food source for which you don't have a pattern to match.

Yesterday I was going to actually begin to fish chironomid patterns for the first time, with only two bona fide chrony patterns in the box. Not to worry, as I had a small Doc Spratley, and Orange Carrey Special, numerous old raggedy-ass dries such as Royal Coachman, Mosquito, etc. that could be trimmed down to sorta fake it as a chironomid imitation. Lucky for those flies I lost my anchor! For now, anyway.

I have also cut down dark olive Wooly Buggers that were tied thick with either brown or furnace hackle. I've cut the tails down to stubbs, so the fly would look more like a Dragon Fly nymph. It still caught trout.

I have also cut down #10 and #12 wooly buggers and leeches to look almost like damsel nymphs, by trimming the hackles off the abdomen, and off the top and bottom of the thorax. Last year, a black one worked pretty well for a while.

I'm curious to know what other members of the board consider to be your most effective "hack jobs?"

Disclaimer: I have also begun to cut my own hair, and haven't gotten a date since I started that. The money saved goes to fly tying materials. (Dear Citori, why aren't i catching any "fish" if ya know what i mean? Should someone intervene and steal my scissors? Or should I just get a "Flowbee" and see if it also works on the wooly buggers?:clown:)


New Member
I have resorted to cutting flies only once or twice. Did not work.

However, my flies are rapidly changing as I hang around with more accomplished fly fisherman.

Also I now tie my flies based on yesterday's fishing trip. Since I'm retired now, tomorrow becomes much more productive.

I also have a fly tying kit that is a road kit. That helps.
Doing "alterations" certainly has its pluses and minuses, however, one of the best chironomid experiences I've had came from a handful of altered PT's. It was fish after fish most of the afternoon that day, luckily the chirono hatch was a color I could deal with.


"Chasing Riseforms"

Until I read your "disclaimer", I was gong to say I would never let you near my hair, but I'm mostly bald anyway... Making do and faking it sounds good, but I usually carry my fly tying kit on my long trips.