How we make destination fly boxes
You’ve seen our destination fly boxes, assorted flies suited for popular fly fishing destinations. Since many have asked, you may have wondered how we make these selections. The answer comes down to three factors: guide recommendations, personal experience, and customer experience/feedback.
For the flies the guides want, we rely on our partners in travel, Fly Water Travel. They provide us with fly recommendations directly from the lodges’ guides. Local guides and anglers are always a top-notch source of information regarding the fisheries where they spend most of their days.
Customer experience is also extremely important feedback and weighs heavily on our fly selection. It’s the greatest feeling when someone comes back from their trip and says “fly X from your box was the ticket!”. Also, sometimes a guide will want a specific fly from their own arsenal for a very specific situation. When that’s the case we’ll match the guide’s fly to something we carry with the same attributes. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice our destination boxes are occasionally updated with different flies. This results in happy guides and anglers, and the thanks goes to the angler who reported back.
The personal experience takes on two meanings here. First is actual personal experience at the location. The second is general fishing experience and knowledge.
For a location we have fished, personal experience is the foundation of the selection. For all others, guide recommendations are the foundation. But when building on top of that foundation, personal experience in terms of general fishing knowledge is the first layer. And this leaks into the next section about filling your own fly boxes.
How to build a fly box
There are four important attributes of a fly: profile (including size), sink-rate, color and movement. With these four attributes in mind, as well as some baseline research and general fishing knowledge, you can build out an effective selection for anywhere.
Doing some baseline research to give yourself a general idea of what a fish eats and where it feeds will help you select for the four attributes of the fly. For example: it’s beyond well documented that bonefish eat little shrimp and crabs, they feed on flats, and they feed on the bottom. With the knowledge that comes from experience – that a bonefish flat can be anywhere from 2ft deep to 4 inches deep – you’ll know you need an array of flies with sink-rates ranging from fast sinking to ones without any weight.
This thought process applied to all four attributes is how we choose flies for boxes. Remember that if you’ve never fished any kind of flat before, it may not be obvious to you that a flat can have such a range of depths. That’s ok, that’s what we’re here for. But keep in mind that you want to get to the point that you’re building your fly boxes with flies you have chosen or tied. So it’s incredibly important to keep making observations and building your knowledge base every time you fish any piece of water.