Written by: William G. Tapply
Ever since I hung up my vest in favor of a pack, out of deference to my creaky back, I’ve carried just two fly boxes with me.
One box I load up with imitations of what I expect to encounter on the specific river or pond that I plan to fish at a specific time of year. On Rocky Mountain rivers in the summer, for example, I bring my Pale Morning Dun/Sulfur box, with emergers, duns, and spinners in various designs to match these two prolific and dependable hatches. For the early season in the East, it might be Hendricksons and Blue-Winged Olives.
The second box, I keep filled with tried-and-true general favorites, flies that work when a big specific hatch isn’t going on, or for streams where matching the hatch isn’t crucial. These are the ten (+/-) flies (each in two or three sizes) that I carry in that box:
Tapply’s Top 10
3. Foam Beetle
9. Soft Hackle Wet (dark and pale)
10. Woolly Bugger (olive and black)
Naturally, I sometimes find myself without the fly I need. Often, by trimming and barbering some flies that I do have, I can make do. (It’s easy to make a spinner out of a dun, for example, by clipping Vees out of the hackle top and bottom.)
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Editor’s note: When I was the editor of American Angler, I had the pleasure of working with William G. Tapply for ten years before his death in the summer of 2009. Bill’s wife, the author Vicki Stiefel, has graciously allowed me to reprint some of his columns and articles here.
Check out these great e-books by William G. Tapply (available on all formats including iPad, Kindle, Mobi, etc.):
- Sportsman’s Legacy: A Rich Memoir of a Man’s Life with His Great Sportsman Father, His Beloved Family, and His Adored Brittany,
- Bitch Creek: A Novel, and
- Death at Charity’s Point (The Brady Coyne Mysteries Book 1).