On the fly: Wintertime tasks | AspenTimes.com

On the fly: Wintertime tasks

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – While last week’s bitter cold weather put a damper on my usual fishing routine, it did allow me the opportunity to do two other important things that I’ve been procrastinating with: reorganizing my fly boxes and tying some much-needed flies.

Fly boxes have come a long way in the past few years. Of biggest note is the advent of waterproof fly boxes. I can’t even begin to recall how many times in the past that my fly boxes have gotten wet, rusting nearly every fly, virtually ruining thousands of dollars of flies. Seemingly all new waterproof fly boxes come with some variation of slotted foam to secure your flies. The hook is held in place by friction instead of simply stabbing your fly into uncut (non-slotted) sheets of foam.

The benefit here is that, with the advent of slotted foam, you will never need to replace the actual foam inserts from years of abuse putting in and taking out fly patterns. One factor that I didn’t like initially about the waterproof boxes is that you can put “wet” flies back into your box, but there’s no way for these boxes to “breathe,” if you will. Wet flies in a waterproof box will eventually rust. I readily solved this problem by taping two little packets of silica gel into my boxes.

After all the reorganization of flies into my new box, I realized that there were many holes needing to be filled.

Thus came out the fly-tying vise. Every winter I try to diligently tie up missing flies that have long been poached over the course of the past summer and fall. Inventing new patterns, new twists on existing patterns, or simply tying preexisting patterns to fill the fly box is something all guides and hard-core anglers do every winter. Fly tiers are always looking for that “magic” fly pattern that produces fish during a variety of challenging conditions.

Most local fly shops teach fly tying classes every winter. Inevitably all true masters of the sport tie flies and fish. Learn something new, and be more productive on the water.

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