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Trimmed up. Not a big box store fly. This is how it should look . . 

She said she’d wait

Angie brought over her sister’s store-bought flies—not fly shop flies, but big-box store flies in the $1 range—all made in Asia by nimble-fingered children who might have thought a fly was a fashion statement

So, Angie, what do you want me to do, I said. ‘These are all out of shape. The parachute on this Adams is ridiculous [pointing to a half dozen]

‘Would you fix these for Sarah and reshape them?’ 

Sure, I said. When do you need these? She said she’d wait. [I’ve become more agreeable in my old age, so I said okay.] 

Coffee, capers, and two hours

So, I had Sarah’s 15 flies ready for hand-to-hand combat in about two hours. That included coffee for me, and the girls splitting an early afternoon bottle of chilled Chardonnay. We ate smoked salmon with capers and fresh lemon and Angie served it on flatbread. Sarah’s enthusiastic wine induced thank you included a wine soaked lip kiss. Angie laughed and I changed color.

Illustration by Thom Glace – rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. Used with permission.

I was able to trim and save about eight of her two dozen Walmart flies 

I only had to brush some of the flies out and give most of a haircut. Many required CA glue on the thread that was already unraveling or looked like it would. I placed some colored UV dots on a few bland ‘nymph’ looking flies and used Sharpies to recolor lifeless fly bodies.

I don’t think it’s worth redoing shitty flies

Sure, they might catch a fish in their original form – even more likely to be successfully redone; I think tying flies for your use is both better flies and far more fun, and if you like to buy flies – stick with local fly shops. And if your angling destination is an away game, check with your travel agency, such as Yellow Dog

Sidebar: Intheriffle is a good source of information on tying, and another is Ruben Martin Flies.

I do recharge flies I’ve tied that have been fly box crushed and become misshapen, and, of course, that’s easy to do with a comb and finger manipulation, and other forms of light surgery.

Here’s a great video by James Spicer [Intheriffle] for repurposing shitty big box store flies or cheap online overseas purchased flies. As to the latter, it is a bad buy more often than not . . .


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