Once you own a collection of boxes, as one inevitably does after a few decades of fly-fishing, it becomes quite difficult to justify buying a new one. I drool over boxes in shops regularly. I turn them over in my hands. I stand there in the shop, thinking that if I bought this one, I would use it for my Caddis & Midges, or my general purpose river nymphs, or some such thing. Then I put them back, and move on. Because you see, at home I have whole collection of perfectly good ones.
Some were sold as fly boxes, but a few were intended as something else, and others were picked up along the way. What I did do many years ago, was to buy myself a whole roll of fly foam. I don’t know quite why I did that. There must have been a plan at the time. What that did however, was to enable me to turn any decent box into a fly box.
One of my favourite boxes was swiped from my kids, who collected these with little model bicycle kits in them. They were a craze at the time, but I somehow only got away with one of them. It is home to some Dragons and Damsels now:
Another is a perfect dry fly box, but I found it in a bait shop of all places. It was dirt cheap, but it has more perfectly sized little compartments than any dry fly box I have ever seen.
Then there are some with some history, like this little midge box that I received as a prize at school:
and this mini box, that I found floating in one of our dams:
But inevitably, and no matter how many of the flies that you tie, you give away, you end up wanting some more space, and you start hunting for the perfect fly box. And when you take the plunge and buy one, there is nothing quite as satisfying as filling it with fresh flies, all in neat rows.
Like your Damsels/Dragons!!! Very nice! Hope you will show how to tie those sometime soon.
I will indeed. We fish these guys more than anything else on our stillwaters here in SA, so refining the designs is top priority. Have a look at another South African pattern much more famous than mine: The Pappa Roach, by Herman Botes: another big fish fly.
I was just juggling with the fly box issue myself, so it’s interesting to find your post. I’m trying to keep the boxes limited in number (minimizing the fly numbers) but keeping them adequate for my needs at any given season. Not easy to do, but fun. I have an old Perrine, something like your newer version, that held my first flies ever, from when I was kid. Thanks!
The old ones are special aren’t they. Like a wheatley that I inherited from my grandfather…. I am now starting to put flies into boxes in broad categories, such that I can leave a few at home when fishing a particular type of water: so for example I have a large stillwater box of streamers and woolly buggers that stays home when I fish a stream. Thanks for stopping by.
Tying flies is a wonderful art which my father-in-law shared with his son, my ex-husband. I used to love watching him create little flies out of colored bits of thread and faux fur, and then watching him fly-fish for trout in North Georgia’s streams. Very fond memories!
It is indeed a lovely pastime. Happy to have stirred fond memories.
I’m a gear junkie so I also find it hard to turn away from a cool box, tackle pack, fly rod or reel. Thanks for the great idea about making your own. I’ve got some great possibilities.
Pleasure .Another idea: Kids school pencil cases are some of the best!