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Organizing your fly boxes

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How do you choose to organize your fly boxes? By color, weighted or not, types of flies? Or if they're are for shallow or deep water? Do you organize them by species of fish it's for? How do you do it? rockon.gif

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Aside from having separate setups for salt vs. fresh, I generally use C&F Design boxes with the snap out panels. I usually organize by what's hatching by season but have a terrestrial box and a separate nymph box. These are C&F too. That way, I can carry one of those fly file boxes they also make and switch out what I want to carry into two or three boxes but I have a lot of different things to select from. The fly file fits in my bag and holds about six inserts.

I just tried one of their salt water boxes but I don’t know if it’s going to work yet. We’ll see. Currently, I have thing divided into Tarpon, crabs and streamer type (Clousers, gurglers, etc.) fly boxes.

So far, I like this system – the only problem is the cost and I wish I’d started out this way. I have no shortage of other type boxes if I ever decide to go back.

 

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The majority of the time I am fishing for trout, so here's my .02 cents.

 

Caddis flies are very predominant in this area(southeast PA), and I enjoy fishing them, so I have three mid size boxes for each stage of their lifecycle. One box is for pupas, one for emergers, and another for adults, spinners and cripples.

 

Within those boxes, they are foam by the the way, I have the flies organized by size. For example, the top 2 rows would be for size 18, the next 2 rows would be for size 16, and so on and so forth. I keep the different patterns and colors grouped/organized within the size "slot/rows."

 

Why organize by size? (my .02 cents.) As far as trout are concerned, I feel that matching the size of the natural fly is the first thing on my list. Next would be shape, then color. Although motion can sometimes overcome color.

 

By organizing by size, I also find it easier to figure out what each box is lacking, or needs replenished as far as size, color, and patterns.

 

This is the only species of bug that I have boxes dedicated to. I plan working on another set for BWO's as well since the trout are keen to them.

 

The other trout fly boxes I have are organized the same way. One box for nymphs, one for emergers, and one for adults, spinners, and cripples. I also have another box for streamers.

 

It may sound like a lot of boxes but I don't carry them all every time I go out.

 

In the early part of the season I rarely fish dry flies or the emerger patterns that aren't in the caddis box, since they aren't going to be hatching for another month.

 

Once the season is in full swing and there are more hatches, the streamer box gets put away because I've tossed enough them during the early part of the season and I get in a mood to fish other flies.

 

Don't get me wrong, I keep few streamers with me. I just pick a few from the main box in put them in one of the other boxes I am carrying or put them on a fly patch.

 

Same thing goes with the early season. I pick few dry flies and emergers from the main boxes and bring them along, but I don't bring the whole emerger box or dry fly box.

 

This way I have space in my bag for a bottle of water and a few other things, but yet I am not weighted down like a pack mule.

 

Hope this helps,

Chip

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I really don't orginize beyond salt/fresh/freshsalt stuff. I guess I go small to large to some extent.

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I organize my fly boxes by species, fresh water bass, chain pickerel, and panfish. Trout, I have a streamer box, a dry box, and a nymph box. I also have a shad box, a salt water box and a terrestrial box. I also have a salmon box. I have a few of each, I also have a box of my first flies and my closet box where some day I will strip those eyesores. It depends where I am going fishing and what time of year it is, that will depend on what I cary in my vest or on the boat.

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QUOTE (Flies & Photos @ Jul 2 2005, 03:10 PM)
How do you choose to organize your fly boxes? By color, weighted or not, types of flies? Or if they're are for shallow or deep water? Do you organize them by species of fish it's for? How do you do it? rockon.gif

There are a few "levels" of organization in my system. First I separate my fly boxes for size. There is a box for dry flies and emergers, a box for nymphs, a box for larger nymphs, a box for traditional streamers and bucktails, a box for alternative patterns such as fly rod spinner baits, a box for poppers, a box for hair bugs, a box for BIG streamers and a box for BIG topwaters. Mostly I fish smallmouth, panfish and largemouth but there is some trout fishing in there too.

 

All the boxes are designed for fishing, so there is no need to separate by species. What I mean by that is that a box of small nymphs to imitate caddis pupae, small mayfly nymphs, scud and sowbugs, etc... is just as applicable to bluegill as to brown trout. The same goes for traditional streamers or dry flies. Species is irrelevant, its the food I'm going to imitate that the box keys in on.

 

I subscribe to the idea of imitating what is available and abundant during any given period. Based on this, I'll grab for the big nymph box in May because size 2 pheasant tail nymphs are accurate imiations of lot's of bugs regardless of whether I'm fishing a spring creek or a freestone smallmouth bass flow. In August I'm grabbing the small nymph box because there probably aren't a lot of size 12 mayfly nymphs about during that period.

 

Inside the boxes I organize by color and size. Dark small to dark big to light small to light big from left to right

 

Joe C.

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