Sal's Favorite Fly by cphubert - In the late 60's I spent the summers in Bourne MA staying with an aunt and uncle. Most early mornings I would collect sea glass and sand dollars on the beach for my grandmother she would make Cap Code Seaglass jewelry to sell to the tourist. I had a chance meeting with a man from New Jersey named Sal who was fly fishing the beaches, bays, and estuaries. At that time, I was mostly a bait fisherman only using a fly rod with worms, mummichogs, and grass shrimp. I had learned to tie lead head bucktail jigs to help my uncle who sold them commercially. Sal wanted some bucktail streamers, so I tied a few for him and he quickly helped me understand what he wanted was a quality fly that didn't fall apart after casting and getting wet or on one fish. I know he tied also but he wanted a local source for flies or liked me as he spent the whole summer and most of the fall fishing on the Cape. He helped me getting started insisted on double wrapped tinsel bodies with oval or wire ribbing and 2 coats of lacquer on the body and the head, bucktail wings red and white, green and white, or natural and white with red being his favorite. Sal was very fair he gave me 25 cents per fly but inspected and pulled on the hair of every one he paid for. After a month he gave me some red and white polar bear to tie flies for him and they became the standard. Today I use mylar tinsel with wire rib and bucktail omitting the polar bear after Herter's discontinued it, at times I will use yak I think it is a good sub for PB but getting hard to find.
Carey Special by DarrellP - The Carey Special was the first soft hackle that I learned to tie in a class by Mark Noble 20 years ago when he still owned the Greased Line in Vancouver, WA. I took all of my daughters fishing at different times over the years and they all had a great time catching fish on the pattern in stillwater. My eldest daughter even had a tattoo of the fly put on her arm after a successful outing using the fly!
3-Wire PT Nymph by Trouttramp -
A 3 wire Pt nymph on a jig style hook by John Schepp
I had the best day of of my life fishing on the Henry's fork, followed by two amazing days on the Firehole and Madison using mostly this fly as a dropper.
John sent me some of these flys as a gift for being a swap host. I put them in my nymph box, and didn’t give them much thought other than I admired how well they were tied.
At the start of the float on the Henery’s fork my guide looked through my fly boxes and picked out one of John’s 3 wire pt nymphs. That fly was the magic bullet that day, all day. It hooked dozens of fish including some large browns and a couple of fatty rainbows. A lot of boats were on the river that day, we were the only boat constantly hooking fish. At the end of the day, my arms were tired from fighting fish. It was one of those special days, a VERY special day.
The following two days I fished the Firehole and Madison in the YNP on my own and had very productive days.
I give all the credit to John’s fly, the 3 wire Pt nymph.
Partridge and Orange by jvmills - I started fly fishing about 12 years ago. I am within a few hours of all different fisheries. I started with warm water streams and ponds. Sunfish, bluegill, smal and large mouth bass. Soon I expanded into the local stocked trout streams. One of my early mentors told me he only fished fished wild trout. By this time i had started tying my own fliesmy first trout was a stocker on the Big Bushkill river on a wet fly. I set my sites on a wild trout only tailwater about an hour from home, Big Gunpowder falls, nice tailwater stream. Was some fairly rugged terrain for my out of shape late 50's body. Densly wooded with pretty steep elevation changes. I heard partridge and orange was a good fly here, so I had tied up some. A few hours later worn out and ready to give up, I felt the tug and landed a nice 7-8 inch wild trout. Caught on a flie I tied (first time). Two firsts in one day. Went home smiling. Still love the wet flies. So try my partridge and orange, especially if you haven't before. Easy to tie and easy to fish.
Classic Bluegill Pattern by vicrider -
Old McDonald had a farm E I E I O...And on this farm he had two ponds E I E I O...
Well, that farm was in central IL and the story is one pond was deeper and kept fish year around and full of stunted bluegills. The other pond froze out every few years. On the years it froze out and fish got killed off he'd seine the stunted pond and dump those fish in the swampy pond in the spring. That year those stunted bluegills with no competition would blossom in the swampy pond just full of things to eat. By fall we'd be catching hand size and bigger 'gills and if we had a mild winter the next year we'd catch bluegills that you could lay in your hand and the tail would cover your watch. These fish you had to grab from underneath since they were too tall to hold like normally done.
Sadly in the years I lived there we only had a couple of the great years and then it either froze out or the word would go out and it would clobbered by the bobber and worm fishermen. For some reason the White Miller was the fly I started with in the pond and never changed up. It was quite a thrill in that shallow water to watch that fly land and two or three humps of water would race toward the splash. Many times we were sure there were a few bass in the pond but all we ever caught were gills and they weighed as much the second year as the average small bass and fought just as hard. That fly caught me a lot of panfish for the pan over the years I was doing a lot of fishing but it does have a tendency to twist a tippet though.
Griffith's (aka Gracie's) Gnat by psychoprince - Whenever I take my nieces and nephews fly fishing, the love to dig through my fly boxes and ask me what my favorite fly is? Or what fly is going to work best? I always tell them that the fish will let us know. One specific time I was fishing with my niece for bluegill and bass on our family pond and I was throwing dries while she mostly watched. Occasionally making an attempt at casting but mostly content watching. I was messing around grabbing random flies to try out when I noticed she seemed very interested in all of the dries. She started asking a lot of questions like why do they float, how come the fish like to jump to grab them, won't they eat them better if they sink? Eventually, once I got a chance to talk I asked her if she wanted to tray and cast one. She seemed intimidated but agreed. I let her pick one which ended up being a Griffith's Gnat. After a dozen or so tries she eventually got the fly out about ten feet from the end of the dock. After a few seconds a decent size bluegill came up and grabbed it. I was met with an ear piercing scream. I was terrified. When I looked over my niece was smiling ear to ear. The bluegill got off and swam away, but she was all smiles. I asked her if she wanted to try again and she said maybe later. As we packed up and broke down the fly rod she asked me if she could have the fly. I told her she could keep it and hten I hooked it to the fabric on her hat. Walking back ot the house she kept proudly exclaiming how it's called Gracie's Gnat now because she catches all the fish with it. To this day it's still one of my favorites.
Grey Hackle Yellow by fishingbobnelson - The first fly I learned to tie was the Grey Hackle Yellow. In 1956 I was a 5th grader at Lincoln Elementary School in Grants Pass, Oregon. One of the first male elementary teachers in my town, Richard Miller, was my teacher for both 5th and 6th grades. On Tuesday and Thursday, we had after-school clubs. Mr. Miller was a fly fisherman and a fly tyer. He started a fly tying club. We used the most basic tools; a $1.00 clamp vise, sewing thread and wooden clothes pins to keep tension on the thread. We used hackl necks that were nothing like theones we use today. Many times, it would take two feathers to hackl a dry fly. The flies were basic too, Grey Hackle Yellow, Red And and of course we all wanted to tie Royal Coachmen. Because of Mr. Miller, I checked out Bergman's Trout from the library so many times trying to learn the patterns on the plates. I never would have become the tyer I am today without him. Dick Miller has passed on to fly fish with the angels, but I still think of him almost every time I sit down at my vise.
Tony Spezio pattern and Dr. Mike by RickZeiger - When I first got into fly tying I met Tony Spezio online. After several exchanges he convinced me to go to Sow Bug. Learned a great deal about tying there. This is one of the patterns that Tony came up with. Tied with rat tail from the craft store in 1mm size. I have caught warmwater fish on this fly. Very good to cast under an overhanging tree or bush. Have sent this to a couple of friends that have caught trout on it. Have tied this in white, cream, yellow, and black. All have worked for me. Brings back memories of a great gentleman every time I tie it on. Enjoy. Dr. Mike is a fly I saw in a magazine and won the warmwater tying contest at Sow Bug in 2018. It works in warm and cold water.
Soft Hackle Bluegill Pattern by Stabgnid - This is one of my most productive fly I fish behind a bubble for bluegill and trout here in Spring Valley Wisconsin ...
San Juan Worm by woodenlegs - We were in Navajo,NM and fishing the San Juan River. One of the guys suggested going to Antonio, C0 and fishing the Conejos, so three of us made the road trip and hired a guide at Conejos Fly Shop. We fished half day and all caught fish, great day because I caught a 21” 3lb Brown on the San Juan Worm. This was May2, 2019
Mickey Finn by Bryon Anderson - this is one of the very first patterns I learned to tie as a raw newbie to all things fly fishing, sitting at our little dining room table in my apartment in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where I was waiting for my (then) new wife to finish her internship at the VA hospital there. She bought me my first tying kit for Christmas that year, and I drove almost an hour to the nearest place to buy materials, which was The Rodmakers' Shop in Strongsville (if I remember correctly). I also mail-ordered a copy of Skip Morris's Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple (which I continue to this day to recommend to new fly tyers), sat down with my little baggie of hair and feathers and hooks and got busy making mostly a mess, but also a few passable flies. I was very proud of the Mickey Finn, because it took me a long time to make one that even faintly resembled the one in Morris's book. I wore it proudly stuck in my ball cap all that winter and into spring.
Finally my wife finished her internship and we found jobs in Michigan, which was where we both wanted to be. I was so excited to be finally taking my shiny new gear and flies to a true fly fishing state! No more muddy metropark ponds and parking lots -- I was going to the land of famous trout rivers and honest-to-god wild trout! Well, my excitement was so keen, in fact, that I couldn't even wait to get to Michigan. On our very last day in Ohio, while my wife packed the last of her things into the U-Haul, I snuck out to a little creek that someone had told me about. I only had few hours before we had to leave, and it took almost an hour to get there, but I just couldn't stand to wait any longer, so I hurriedly got into my cheap waders, strung up my still basically brand-new Cortland outfit, and began to flail about, but to no avail as usual. Still, it was such a pretty little creek - the prettiest I'd seen in Ohio by far, and there just had to be a fish in there for me. I made my way back to the car as slowly as I could, casting as I went. I was within sight of the car when I finally made my only good, clean cast of the day. The line uncurled just like Brad Pitt's had in The Movie, the Mickey Finn dropped perfectly into the little pocket between two rock next to the bank, and whammo! A chubby, ten-inch largemouth bass (of all things) flew into the air with that bright yellow-and-red fly hooked in his jaw, and I just knew that this was the proverbial first day of the rest of my life. And I was right.