Mix & Match

Last night I had this neat idea, well at least I thought it was, to create some sort of fly tying game to mix things up a bit. After all, as tiers we (okay, some) seem to fall into this mindset that fly patterns must follow the exact recipes we see posted. We must use that exact feather, plucked from this bird, at that time of the year, when the temperature outside is this many degrees…you get the picture.

Not true at all.

There are always substitutes for everything. You just need to use your imagination a bit, trust your intuition and who knows – maybe you’ll create something that graces the next cover of Fly Tyer magazine. And after all, it’s fun to try new things.

Well that led me to the idea of this mix and match concept. Here’s how it works. Firstly, write down a list of materials that you have on a sheet of paper. Doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list. In fact, just list 10 items. Thread and hooks don’t count, as they are defaults. Then jot down a list of fly parts – tail, body, rib, thorax, abdoment, etc – and finally on another sheet of paper jot down a list of thread colors that you own.

Here’s the fun part.

Cut up the strips of paper names and put in three fishing hats according to the three topics. That is the key part. They must be fishing hats for the good juju. Shake up, and choose three items from the materials hat. Those will be the three ingredients you will use. Then choose three from the fly parts hat. And lastly, choose one thread color from the last hat. Those items will be your primary ingredients for the fly.

Hopefully, this is a neat challenge and helps you think differently about how flies can be constructed. I don’t know, it sure sounds fun to me and definitely mixes things up! ~Drifter07