Sunday, February 26, 2012

What's In Your Fly Box?

My flybox for 2012
With the begining of trout season just around the corner, I have been giving a lot of thought to what my fly box should be filled with (I will only be talking about my freshwater fly box because my saltwater only has various clousers and blondes in it).  I have never been a "match the hatch" kind of guy....I'm not a big fan of spending more time changing flies than actually fishing.  As a tenkara angler I have been fascinated with the "one/any fly" approach but have shied away from that extreme as well for two reasons. One, with one fly, I don't feel prepared enough.  The second reason is that I love to tie flies....and tying only one pattern would get boring pretty fast.  So for this year I have elected to go with only one fly box (a small 3"x5" Flambeau foam box) to cover all types of fish and situations I may face.  During the year I may find myself fishing for small stream brookies, browns and rainbows in tailwaters and stocked lakes and bass and bluegill in shallow weedy ponds.  I wanted to reduce the number of flies I use so that I might concentrate more on my actual technique. For me, it would be a challenge to get all the flies that I felt I would need into such a small flybox and cover a wide range of waters and conditions. The following list of flies is my attempt to meet this challenge.

#12 Royal Sakasa Kebari and #12 Pheasant and Black Sakasa Kebari
Killer Bugs and #12 Kiwi's Killers
#12 Bead Head Royal Sakasa Kebari's
Wooly Buggers
#16 Usuals
#12 Bubble Kebari and extra kebari for specific locations...empty spaces are for flies from swaps or experimental flies
#16 "BWO" sakasa kebari's (olive thread and starling hackle)
I figure my Royal Sakasa Kebari and Pheasant & Black SK to be my "work horses" and the ones I will use in almost all situations.  I plan to use the Killer Bugs when fishing the tail waters of Westchester County and the Nissequogue R.  The Kiwi's Killer is my one fly for fishing ponds for bass and bluegill.  If I'm going dry I always prefer a Usual.  The Wooly buggers are perfect for the large bass I encounter and anything else that is not satisfied with just a few tiny bugs.  The bead heads will be good for when I need to get a fly down deep  and quickly. Throw in a few smaller #16's and leave some room for a few experimental flies, an Ausable bomber or flies from a swap and I think I have a box that's good to go......or at least that's what I think.  Who knows, the real judges are waiting for me out in the various ponds and streams I plan to visit in the coming season.  Even if this box is not the "ultimate fly box" that's OK the challenge and spending time outdoors is what's most important.


  1. wow, even if you are not a one-fy guy, this box is spartan if you can call it anything. myself, i am not a one-fly guy (i like to tie, experiment and just don't want to be limited to one fly only) but my box is considerable more "packed". although, thinking about last season's flies, I probably only fished with the same three patterns...

  2. Simple and very effective. Well organized also.

  3. I like to keep things simple and small as well. I always have some pheasant tails on hand, they seem to work in most any situation

  4. Karel...My goal was to reduce my fly selection significantly but maintain as much flexibility as possible. On an average trip last year I probably only fished 2-4 patterns. I want to concentrate more on my technique this year and don't want to too many flies to decide on. Plus I don't want to have a problem on stream trying to get my "sausage-like fingers" into my fly box.

    Brk Trt...Thanks. Organization is my speciality.

    Mark...I considered pheasant tails and a few other sbut went with these mostly for sentimental reasons.

  5. Kiwi.

    Nice blog will follow.

    Follow if you can?

    Best wishes.

  6. Thanks Flyfishermanrichard! I will definitely check your blog out.

  7. Why is the hackle reveresed on the Tenkara flies? I don't get how they would work, since they are fished much the same as a regular fly aren't they?

  8. Urban Wild...With sakasa kebari (the reverse hackled tenkara flies) there are similarities to soft-hackled flies. The biggest advantage to the reverse hackle is when you give the line a little twitch it will cause the hackle to "open-up". When you relax the line the hackle will close. This motion is very pronounced and strongly suggests life and therefore food. (more so than if you simply let the current provide the motion). If you do this just in front of a suspected trout lie it can be deadly. They are very simple to tie and very versatile. Check out or for more info if your interested.