With the finger dexterity of a guy that has had his fingers broken by debt collecting mobsters, I stood mid stream last week pulling out one of my fly boxes. Where were those wets I had tied. I selected a fly and then like a lightening bolt the most elementary, most obvious thought popped into my brain….’what if you, right now, dropped that open fly box into the water’ Eek! I thought. Not just at the loss but at how careless I had been. Hundreds of flies, untold hours of tying last Winter. In loose compartments. What the hell did I have all that work in one spot; such enormous redundancy too. Like how many green Caddis pupa’s do I need to have with me? 20? Really? For a few hours fishing. So obviously careless.
As a beginner, or someone that should know better, size up what you are going to need for an outting, an afternoon/evening of fishing let’s say. This does require the effort of studying up. Or going over prepared. But, even then. NEVER take all your flies out onto the water. Take an assortment, a selection of most probables with a few long shot patterns. One box of a few nymphs, emergers, duns, streamers etc. Replenish the box or two boxes prior to each outing and reduce the chances of a catastrophic loss should you dump the open box into the drink. Lordy me!
Also, pick fly boxes with this in mind: opening them while in the water; rod under arm; wind and rain; fingers frozen; mosquito drilling away…so that you can replace a fly you just removed from your tippet and select a new one. How hard is it to open/close (the ones above are not the easiest to open/close. Do the flies fit loosely in a small compartment like above? This is a problem because the fly you select is often attracted to 3 others in the little cube hence extra manipulations over the water. You get the point. Take a good selection of flies with you but not the whole frigging enchilada!