Starting a Fly Box from Scratch

Cordite72

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I am starting my salmon fly box from scratch. I am planning to fish Scotland and New England in the States. What should I start off with? I would be grateful for sizes and whether to look at single, double and treble hooks. Should I also have some tubes in my arsenal? Thanks.
 

Rrrr

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For the uk, some of the classics should work well, a cascade, a willie gunn, some smaller silver stoats tails and a few colours of allys shrimp would cover you for most occasions with a mix of sizes and the odd tube for high water.

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T7

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Doubles and tubes. Variety of sizes and weights in a few popular patterns will be enough for 2 or 3 boxes
 
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Cordite72

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Any recommendations on who to buy them from? They seem to range from £5 a fly down to £1.75. I presume the more expensive they are, the better they are tied and the better the hook/ quality of the materials - some look a little scrawny!
 

charlieH

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If you're starting from scratch, it would be helpful if you could provide a bit more detail about where and when you are likely to be fishing. The salmon season in the British Isles is very long (in theory you can catch them for about 10 1/2 months of the year in Scotland, and even longer if you extend your fishing to include England and Ireland), and flies will vary greatly depending on the river and the time of year. What is right for the northern rivers in January will be very different from May on the Spey, grilse time in the Hebrides or November on Tweed. You will also find that fly size may vary from river to river, a size 8 double may be considered small in some places, whereas in others it may be quite large.

There are different regulations about hooks, too. I'm not familiar with the situation in New England, save to say that singles seem to be far more prevalent over there, and I think doubles and trebles are not permitted on a lot of the rivers. Over here, there are also a few places where singles are required, and on quite a lot of rivers there is at least a request, if not a rule, that you don't use treble hooks. Elsewhere, anything goes.

Yes, a selection of the usual flies (the patterns Rrrr mentions are all good) in sizes 6-10 would be a starting point, but I think that if you can narrow down what your options are likely to be, you'll get rather more useful advice.
 

T7

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Any recommendations on who to buy them from? They seem to range from £5 a fly down to £1.75. I presume the more expensive they are, the better they are tied and the better the hook/ quality of the materials - some look a little scrawny!
Fulling Mill are pretty good. I would steer away from buying cheap flies, especially those tied on hooks as the quality can be poor. Cheap tubes are less of an issue as you can put your own hooks on them and you can be sure of the quality
 

SalmoNewf

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First point is that there is no fishing for wild anadromous salmon in New England. All the US rivers are in dire condition and closed to angling. There are many options in eastern Canada but as noted above re the UK, Ireland etc., very different flies are used in different rivers and at different times. For example, Quebec is the only province that currently allows the use of double hooks and barbed hooks. The other four provinces only allow single, barbless (or barbs pressed down) hooks and no weighted hooks are allowed, so no cone heads etc.

Having said that, have a look at the selection offered by W. W. Doak in New Brunswick (Hairwings - W. W. Doak and Sons Ltd. Fly Fishing Tackle) for a start though many UK and Scandinavian patterns work quite well, after allowing for the single barbless hook requirement. The other factor in Canada is the extensive use of dry flies, primarily Bombers in almost infinite variations but the Wulff series still work quite well, in both small and enormous sizes.
 

Hardyreels

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The preceding post from SalmoNewf describes North America better than I could have done as I have not lived in the north east for over 15 years.

For ideas on what patterns to gather for fishing the UK have a look here; Your Successful Patterns

The replies on that thread were suggestions of what I needed to tie before visiting Scotland for 3 weeks June / July 2020. Unfortunately that isn't in the cards any longer.

For fishing the New England states (America) perhaps start browsing the North American Fly Fishing Forum That forum is a related site and the members can be helpful.

Ard
 

Mattytree

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Would definitely agree about fulling mill Flys , them and some of Craig Bartletts scandi patterns ( you can go wrong with his willie gun scandi style Or monkeys tubes) and Don’t forget some Francis patterns.
 

Mattytree

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Depends on the water and height but on a whole I personally fish tubes more ,replacing a blunt hook is cheaper too!
 

Perrypokemon

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I dont think anybody here will disagree that if you are going to fish for salmon then catching them on a fly is about as good as you can get. Is there anything better? Hmmmm most people who tie flies will probably tell you that catching them on your your own flies is as good as it gets. I will go a step further. There is nothing quite like the feeling of the first fish you catch on a fly which has been self tied. It really is the ultimate. There is of course nothing wrong with buying flies, certainly nothing wrong with buying decent ones. The thing is though if you tie your own you are free to experiment and add or omit anything you like in a pattern. Is it cheaper than buying flies? No it is not for most of us. This is because it becomes more of an obsession than a past time. The thing is though it is extremely rewarding. If you take a look at the Forum Fly Tying Section you have an excellent point of extensive resource. Most of the members nere who contribute will help you through any aspect of any pattern if you ask them. I dont wish to complicate things for you but fly dressing is wonderful. It also doesn't need to break the bank although it almost has done for me on more than one occasion.
 

Tyke777

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I dont think anybody here will disagree that if you are going to fish for salmon then catching them on a fly is about as good as you can get. Is there anything better? Hmmmm most people who tie flies will probably tell you that catching them on your your own flies is as good as it gets. I will go a step further. There is nothing quite like the feeling of the first fish you catch on a fly which has been self tied. It really is the ultimate.
The absolute ultimate is shooting the driven Grouse, tie the fly using some of the feathers and then feeling the draw and tighten........... nothing quite like it. I did this for the first time 30 ish years ago on the North Esk, Morphie Dyke - and no kidding had the cold roast grouse with salt n pepper, bread n butter and a few bottles of IPA, I dont think I stopped smiling for quite a while that day, unforgettable. :thumb:
 
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