Fly fishermen often carry an arsenal of flies in a vest full of boxes. Nymphs, streamers, terrestrials, attractors, trash and flash, emergers, and dry flies. Dry flies can be cripples, spinners, no hackle, and… My point is that you will never have enough flies.
Years ago, a few guides decided to have a One Fly Challenge. They could carry only one fly pattern. You could have that pattern as a nymph, streamer, dry, or whatever but it could only be one pattern. You could have full boxes of just that one basic pattern.
One guide picked the Muddler Minnow. He tied it into a hopper pattern, as the classic streamer, woven into a nymph, and in a variety of sizes from 18- 4. Each fly had most of the basic components of the Muddler Minnow.
Another guide became a Baetis, or Adams style master. Everything in his box was gray, and Adams like. He improvised on the bigger flies, but everything was close to the Adams dry fly in color and materials.
A third guide picked the Royal Coachman pattern. He then created a complete spectrum of every classic Coachman. Peacock herl, red floss, and white wings or tails were in abundance.
Each guide had success and faith in their classic single pattern. When selecting their fly, the decision was way simpler. Their vests were lighter and less crowded. Creativity was a fun part of the challenge. More attention was given to size and presentation than Matching the Hatch.
They spent the entire summer fishing just one pattern. What they discovered is that more fishermen caught more fish! Each guide had spectacular days, but the highest number of fish caught that summer was on The Royal Coachman patterns! This pattern is less natural looking than the others but always gets the fishes attention.
What the real winner learned is that is not just the fly, it is the presentation!
Present a winner!
For more Montana Grant, find him tying flies at www.montanagrantfishing.com.