Photo: Flickr/Cowgirl Jules

Carrying fewer flies will make you a better angler. Here’s how to do it

The common fruit fly (above) is a mainstay of scientific research because its eggs hatch and reach maturity within two weeks, so a single fly can produce thousands of offspring in its 50-day lifetime, and millions within a few years. Looking over my fishing flies, I’m pretty sure they’ve been breeding in the same way. It seems like the only way I could have started out with a dozen patterns in a single small box, and now have about 25 boxes, bags and bins jammed full of flies.

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Compared with lures, flies are so small and light I could easily cup all the patterns I used this season in two hands. The same goes for most fly anglers, yet many of us still head out with vests and packs uncomfortably bulging with fly boxes. That leads to option overload when picking a pattern, lost fishing time, possible lumbar pain and, ultimately, less enjoyable days on the water. I went through this myself until I got more discipled and realistic about what I actually needed. Here are some ideas for pruning your fly box, and developing a leaner, more focused approach to fly fishing…