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I can't believe they pinched my flybox. Cameras - even camcorders - I can handle. CD players - who cares? Take all my spare spools; I don't really need them anyway. But my flybox? I need my flybox.

And it's not like my flybox of last year, which was full of crap flies; this was one mean-son-of-a-gun flybox. No rusty hooks, no badly tied flies (well only the intentionally badly tied ones); a flybox full of my best flies. Operation Fluff plus a few US flies and a couple of pheasant tail nymphs. Even the Terminator has gone - and the Terminator was the only fly which didn't give me confidence. Well that and Dave's Leaded Caddises, which have also left me for another life - and I never even managed to catch a single fish on Dave's Dead Caddis in the three years I've had them.

It is your flybox which defines you as a flyfisher. It contains your working experiments, your ideas, it reveals your place in this lifelong journey. There are secret flies, scruffy flies, magic flies. Hell, all my flies contain a pinch of magic. They were living creations; sure, some had a sort of Frankenstein appeal but with this flybox of mine you could drop me in on any trout fishery on the planet and I would fish with confidence - even if I just ended up using the Shipmans in fact.

I now have one fly. It is a sedge. This little sedge was sitting on my dashboard when the great crime occured; the theives in their haste overlooking it. Ironically, this week I was going to write about stalking lake fish with three dry flies but since I only have one now, this is not possible.

Operation Fluff, which is the current line-up in the Members Section (must work on this section - thanks for not hassling me) was my flybox and it took a frenzied fortnight to create and I'm already looking forward to getting back to the vice, but right now there are more pressing things to do.

I'm tempted to do the Roy Christie and carry a small waterside flytying kit. This would be a departure from the norm. A pinch of seal's fur, a small bunch of hackles, maybe even a vice (for the 32's). If I needed a fly I could tie it there and then - never again would I run out of the killing pattern. And at the end of each day I'd have a couple of new creations.

I'm certainly not about to recreate the Operation. That would achieve nothing and here at Sexyloops we never do the same thing once.

Many readers and friends have offered to send me flies. This is tempting too. I would undoubtedly end up with a hell of a lot of flies, and some rather good ones. Of course they wouldn't be as good as my flies - don't get me wrong; I'm sure that as flies they are excellent and many of them considerably better than mine but for me they won't be as good. How can they be? Confidence comes from the experience and we all experience something unique.

I'm not tempted because it's a quick fix; I'm tempted because it would be fascinating, to end up with a few hundred flies from around the world, to be handicapped on one hand and yet blessed with the other. This would have a polar effect on my fishing through which I could undoubtedly learn a great deal.

I never use shop-tied flies - they don't give me confidence, I feel like I'm missing out and in some small way it feels like prostitution. Friends flies are slightly different - confidence is a little mixed, I feel like I'm missing out on one side but I do feel quite privilidged on the other. Of course what I normally do is take a friend's fly and retie it so that it looks the way I would like, completely missing the point.

So that's kind of where I am in this at the moment.

OK, OK, so I'm working through this as I type. Those are my options: to go back to where I was, recreate Operation Fluff and learn nothing; to accept these kind offers from around the globe and be send flies (magic ones); or to create a small streamside tying kit and experiment with this philosophy for a while.

I wonder which is best for my fishing and which is most interesting for Sexyloops. What do you think?

Oh and thanks by the way. I've never had so many well-wishers and offers of help. It's very humbling.


Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
A sexy catch...

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