As I piled up the years of throwing flies at unsuspecting fish and maybe a few illegal ones. I noticed that I had become one of those hoarders you see on T.V. specials. A few years ago I decided I was tired of carrying a fly shop with me every time I fished. Not to mention the bottomless financial pit of fly tying supplies that litter the corners and closets. The thing was I'd spend my winters tying dozens and dozens of flies and spending way too much time on flies that I'd use maybe once or twice a year. But in the fall when I start the needed foreplay to get myself in the mood for a long session at the vice, which consits of repeated "walkbys" of the room where the vise is set up. Along with those empty or thin fly box compartments that can seem like a vast abyss that could swallow a drift boat, fisherman anchor and all . I'd find myself tying flies like a size 22 split wing extended body biot dry fly with a trailing shuck. Truth is in that situation very rarely would the same fish not find a size 24 Adams just as scrumptious. With that in mind I decided to simplify, my goal was to carry two multi-compartment fly boxes. One for drys andemergers and the other for nymphs and other reliable underwater flies. What I found is that though you can walk into any fly shop and find hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of flies, but where the river meets the road, you really only need in the area of a half dozen flies both wet and dry in a half dozen sizes and about a half dozens colors. As always there are exceptions to this, for instance mysis shrimp don't occur in every river or lake, but if you fish in the west you will run across them and you'll need to be ready for that. It also doesn't hurt to have some flies like buggers that you can use as dry's, nymphs and streamers.
Now I am not suggesting that my flies should be the rule. Nor would I be stupid enough to list my favorite flies to the world. However through experience I have managed to get my two fly boxes stocked with just about anything I could need for a typical day on the water. Now I spend half as much time at the vise filling my boxes and more time tweaking proven patterns and recipes. I also bulk down by just wearing a lanyard and foregoing the vest or pack. If your into hiking into those remote places to fish, the vest and all the stuff you have in it can start to get heavy after a while. You can easily carry everything your going to need on a lanyard, and a fishing shirt with those over sized pockets you have plenty of room for your two boxes. There are times depending on where you fish, that you'll be able to just bring one box with you. Lets say for instance your hiking in to some small mountain streams that tend to ribbon their way through the Rockies. Chances you're not going through all that trouble to sling a bunch of lead. More than likely your using a light rod and your there because you want to throw drys. Then why carry the nymph box with you? Is there going to be an unexpected hatch of size 18 pheasant tails? If you must you can always leave one compartment in the dry box for a few assorted nymphs to trail off your big bushy dry fly.
Now as a fisherman and "gadget guy" I know the thought of bulking down can bring feelings that might equate to walking down Main street USA wearing nothing but a pair of wading socks. For some fisherman who clunk when they walk, from all the stuff in their vest, it may take time to bulk down. Maybe a little each time. However whichever way you choose you'll find yourself more organized and more prepared for almost any water anywhere.