Despite, of course, the lovely North Country Wets - when it comes to tying them, I try as far as my skills and the materials I can get my hands on, to tie them as they did 50-100-200 years ago (OK, even here I', flawed, I use modern tools and a vise). This doesn't mean that I don't tie soft hackles wet flies using moderne materials, but it does mean that I don't tinker with the pattern for a Waterhen Blow, Dark Needle or Winter Brown. And when it comes to fishing them, I do fish them traditionally, but I also fish them in other ways - there, it's out!
There are strong traditions in all sorts of fly tying, bordering on rules and even doctrines, and that's fine by me - I love them, I know them and sometimes I try to adhere to them, and sometimes I try not to. Be it classic, fully dressed salmon flies of the Victorian era, even older wet flies, Halford-style dries - they all have their doctrines and bibles.
A few weeks ago I sat down to tie some traditional wets - there are few patterns that are usually in my box, and I was 1: running loe and 2: I hadn't tied them in a loooong time, since last I tied, I tied quite a few. So - on the program were March Browns, Invictas and Alexandras.
When I began fly fishing, the first fly I fell in love with was the Mickey Finn (I've written about this before) and consequently, my first brown trout, first sea trout, first grayling (!!!) and I think even first pike, were all caught on the Mickey Finn. The second fly I fell in love with was the Alexandra. I'v only ever caught brown trout on it (and maybe a few roach), but that's fine. It's beautiful wet fly that fishes well in both rivers and lakes. And it's old - really old. Probably dates further back than 1860, but it's history is shrouded.
So - I'll end with a recommendation: Give a few of these traditional flies a swing or a pull - they're better than you might think.
Have a great weekend!