Lately I must have been giving too many flies away (and sure, a few were “given” to trees too!). Yesterday I went fishing with some friends and this was what my fly box looked like when I arrived. I had only 7 flies to use for the few hours I would be fishing, and each one was identical in size, color and shape. Size 8 Oki kebari.
Four years ago (WOW! Typing that just made me feel like time is flying way too fast…pun totally intended), I wrote a post about finally letting go of my “just-in-case” flies. It was a turning point for me. After 12 years of being indoctrinated in matching-the-hatch, and one year after learning that I could use one fly (or, rather, any fly), I was finally gaining some confidence in the approach.
It had nothing to do with tradition, rather, it was a step I saw toward liberation. How cool would it be to learn how to use my fly and not worry about hatch books or stopping by a shop to ask what to use? On that post, I also posed the question: “If you only had one fly pattern in your box, could you still catch fish? If you ran out of your “go-to” fly pattern, would you feel okay and continue fishing, or would your day be ruined?”
While I continue to call it a “one fly” approach, in reality I have carried with me 4 variations of what could be considered the same pattern. A dark and a light-colored size 12, a size 16, and a size 8 (the 4 flies that we sell here). Mostly because I do believe size can make a difference. So from the beginning of my one-fly journey I have decided I’d at least carry the 3 sizes of flies.
Yesterday, when we arrived on the stream, I opened my box, and that’s what I saw. My only thinking was, “today will be a true one-fly day”. It was fun not to change flies a single time. It was not exactly a new experience for me. I have fished many days without changing flies a single time. But, it was an interesting experience to have no other flies to even think about. In the course of 2 hours I proceeded to fish in a way that only comes from paying attention to the water in front of you; and nothing else.
So, how would you feel if you arrived on the water and your fly box was like that? Nearly empty and completely devoid of variation. Would you turn around and go buy more flies? Or, would you just fish?