I ought be be honest with you. Until very recently I have felt rather ashamed of my box of flies. Whenever I meet up with another fisherman I am invariably shown fly boxes with everything in order – nymphs, dries, lures all in neat rows. Everything ship-shape and Bristol fashion.

I am reluctant to show my own modest arsenal, not because I am secretive, but because I am rather ashamed of how everything has been tossed into a messy heap. Not only are my “good” flies tangled up with one another but they are also hopelessly jumbled up with injured veterans of former campaigns which should long ago been removed from action at the front line. They have unsightly wounds – unravelling thread, loose bead heads and worse. The mess is so bad that it is impossible to pick up a single fly without half a dozen others hanging on to it. More and more I have begun to feel that I don´t measure up. My brother anglers have boxes that in which the flies line up like soldiers on parade while my own box looks like the mess room after a drunken brawl.

Things  have gotten so bad that I decided this morning that enough is enough. I tipped the contents of the box onto my bench and separated out the healthy from the sick. I had to say good bye to a few who were beyond hope. I tended to the wounded at the tying vice, repairing the damage to those that could be patched up. Some of those whose dubbing had been thinned or lost were spruced up and looked rejuvenated and fresh like Granny after a trip to the hairdresser.

The next step was to see if I could organise the flies so that it would be a simple matter of seeing what was there. The flies could no longer be allowed to intermingle. This would mean less time wasted on the riverbank rummaging through the mess. A little slice was cut from a block of black foam and trimmed to fit snugly into the box. On one side I stuck my nymphs and a few dries that might come in handy on the river, and on the other side went the bigger flies that look like nothing on earth but that might fool the odd carp or bass in a local reservoir.

So now I have a “new” fly box and I feel pretty damned pleased with myself I can tell you.


Here is my little tupperware fly box. It´s pretty small so it can fit easily into a pocket.


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The big ugly things might just tempt a carp mooching around the margins of a reservoir (or maybe not!)

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There are a few dries here on the right and a few nymphs on the left. Most of the ugly ones I tied myself and the pretty ones were given by friends. Paul Reddish tied some of the nymphs and Colin McLachlan tied some of the foam bodied dries.