One Fly? A Few Flies? Many Flies?
by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)
Purple Reaper Midge
When I first started fishing tenkara a few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of one fly. Some anglers preferred to use only a single type of fly in their fishing, stressing that stealth and presentation were far more important than the pattern one used. As long as a fly was generally the right size, with the correct overall appearance, and was fished in the right way, switching colors and patterns was an unnecessary distraction.
I respect those who practice this philosophy and appreciate the emphasis they espouse.
Other anglers are “fly junkies,” with fly boxes filled with dry flies, nymphs, and streamers, in a kaleidoscope of colors and sizes. They “match the hatch” continually and love to experiment with different patterns according to their understanding of the fish, water, and seasons.
Most of us, I suspect, are in-between, with, perhaps, a half-dozen favorite patterns that we rely on and fish with confidence. That’s the way I fish tenkara, anyway. I enjoy tying flies, and I think I would become bored if I tied only a single pattern. On the other hand, constantly switching flies leads to too much time NOT fishing! So, I stick with a few flies, and find that on some days one pattern works better than another.
Which patterns are my favorites? Well, that continues to evolve. I don’t think I could do without a gold-ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph. I also love my Utah Killer Bugs and Reaper Midges. Another dry fly favorite is the tried-and-true Elk Hair Caddis. Sometimes, when I’m feeling more traditional, I’ll tie on a reverse-hackled Kebari fly.
How about you? Are you a one fly, few flies, or many flies tenkara angler? And how would you rank your favorite patterns?
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin
"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662
As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.
Beware of the Dogma