Despite owning hundreds of fishing flies it always seems that a few tried and tested patterns remain successful and popular year after year. Thinking of this led me to think of the ten most useful fishing flies in my fly box and raised two questions:
- Can you rely on only 10 essential fishing flies and still have a happy and successful season?
- Which 10 essential fishing flies would you have in your fly box?
I have literally hundreds of fishing flies. Despite duplicates and patterns dressed on an array of different hook sizes there are still hundreds from which to choose. I have a fly for every occasion, regardless of the species of fish, depth of water, time of year or weather conditions. I have a fly that should always fit the bill and catch fish.
Despite this, fly fishing magazines constantly tell us which fly fishing pattern will be the next best thing, urging all anglers to add these new inventions to their collection. The regular fly tying competitions encourage weird and wonderful manifestations constructed with everything from budgerigar feathers to knicker elastic but rarely consider the likelihood of catching more fish. I am also a sucker for the deals one can find on Ebay and have bought dozens of new patterns in search of the ideal fishing fly.
In contrast the magazine polls at the end of each fly fishing season seem to show a consistent handful of patterns that bring success to the fly angler. The same old fishing flies remain successful and popular which undermines my ever expending collection of fishing flies. When a Catâ€™s Whisker, Gold Ribbed Hares Ear or Black Buzzer seems so dominant why on earth do I continue to purchase new fishing flies?
To end this fascination with new flies and add an exciting twist to the forthcoming fly fishing season I have decided to choose only ten patterns. The range of patterns needs to be diverse to cope with the changing demands of trout fishing in the UK. From hot summer evenings to cold winter days the demands placed on the all important selection are severe. Most of my fly fishing takes place in Cheshire, Lancashire, Northumberland and the Borders.
Here is my 2007 season long selection 10 essential fishing flies
Dawsons Olive Hot Tail â€“ This combination of olive green and hot orange is deadly on northern still waters and the many fisheries in Northumberland.
Cats Whisker â€“ A year round favourite, fished slow in winter and fast in summer that can prevent a blank day fly fishing.
Viva â€“ For half of the year the Viva is a sound bet to raise even the most picky Rainbow Trout.
Kate Mclaren â€“ Either as a traditional wet fly or fished as a dry fly with Gink the Kate Mclaren this is my favourite fishing fly.
Black Buzzer â€“ Old faithful and a refreshing change to the more aggressive patterns in the fly box. When patience is important I always use the Black Buzzer.
Gold Ribbed Hairs Ear â€“ This nymph pattern offers year round consistency for fly fishermen who prefer a traditional imitative approach to fly fishing.
Bloodworm â€“ All season long the bloodworm can catch fish and is an option when fishing droppers.
Black Hopper â€“ A great Dry Fly that seems to attract trout when other patterns fail.
Daddy Longlegs â€“ For late summer and autumn the Daddy Longlegs fishing fly is great for dry fly fishing either on the surface or within the surface film.
Top Hat Hares Ear â€“ This Northumbrian specialty is an emerging pattern that cannot fail to attract attention in the first half of the fly fishing season.
So there you have the 10 essential fishing flies for the 2007 season.
Which 10 essential fishing flies would you choose for a yearâ€˜s fly fishing?