How my fly boxes are like my marriages


The box needs love.

The box needs love.


I was thinking recently about my fly boxes. I was contemplating what I needed to fill them with and what, maybe, I might need to remove.

Over the last couple years I’ve started to put fewer experimental patterns in my boxes. I’m more into patterns I know have worked, patterns I have confidence in, that I feel good about through experience, not just because they are pretty. The total number of patterns is probably dropping off too. I’m concentrating on having more of the patterns I depend on.

Your fly boxes need attention. You can’t just grab for it when you need it without any maintenance. The flies will rust, the fur will deteriorate, the choose patterns might be gone. You have to reassess from time to time and make sure what you have with you is what you need. If not… well… time to put in the work and get your box where you need it to be.



  1. I feel like I’m constantly tying new flies, yet nevertheless my flyboxes still hold mostly disheveled, ragged, dull rusty flies. I can’t understand it. The only flies that are ever presentable are the ones in my little plastic boxes where they all sit waiting to be called into duty in my actual fishing fly boxes.

    So, I’ve made an early new years resolution. I’ll tie a half dozen perfect specimens of each pattern, seal them in that clear plastic box, and leave them there. That way, they’ll always be perfect and I’ll never have to clear out my flyboxes again.

    That’s how my flyboxes are like my marriage: perfect and imaginary.

  2. Ha… well said.

    My boxes are beautiful things, I think, and work to keep that way. Neglect them and they fall into disarray.

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