I’ve finally crossed that point as a fly-caster where it makes much more sense to tie my own flies than to buy ‘em. There are a few reasons for that.
First of all, I’m still a horrible angler, but I don’t lose as many flies as I used to. I still have four or five bury themselves in my clothing, or even my skin, every time I go fishing, but at least I don’t lose ‘em.
I don’t know what’s worse – losing a fly you paid good money for, or losing one you put your own effort into at the vise. Either way, it’s tough to stomach.
The scale tipped in the direction of a store-bought fly being more traumatic a couple of weeks ago, when I paid two-fifty for a girdle-bug and snapped it off on my very first backcast of the day. Two-fifty for a girdle-bug? Crikey. How much money do you think actually goes into one of those? My guess is about 22 cents.
A few years ago, losing a few flies on a fishing trip didn’t bother me as much as it does now. A big part of the reason is that I’m going fishing a lot more often, and when I go, I almost always take the fly rod. I used to switch it up a lot more than I do now. That means I’m losing a whole lot more flies over the course of a season.
In the hope of reminding myself of the importance of making good casts and knowing what my fly’s doing under the water, I started shouting out the amount of money I spent on the fly when it gets hung up or pops off the line. On my last fishing trip, I took it a step further and added up the total amount for the day, and I called out the accumulated total the river had swallowed up. It was really disconcerting how quickly I got to ten bucks.
I haven’t put a total figure on how much money I’ve left in trees, popped off the line on overzealous backcasts, or snapped off when they got snared on some submerged object. It wouldn’t be hard to figure out, but I’m afraid to. What it boils down to is that I don’t want to know myself, and I really don’t want my wife to know. I’m sure I won’t lose fewer flies if I start tying my own again, but at least I’ll be losing money in installments of dimes, or maybe quarters, rather than whole dollars.