Hand-tied flies a gift that keeps on giving

And so it has begun. CBC Radio was playing Christmas carols this morning.

And so it has begun.

CBC Radio was playing Christmas carols this morning. To make matters worse, they played The Twelve Days of Christmas, which I might add I have not been able to get out of my head since. You know how it is when you hear a tune and then just can’t seem to get it out of your mind.

Over the many years that I have been writing The Great Outdoors, I have written numerous pre-Christmas columns entitled the Twelve Flies of Christmas, describing a dozen fly patterns that any angler would appreciate having in their fly box.

Some have been tried and true standbys, others personal favourites. I have also made a point to include changes to the column that take into consideration new patterns and materials.

Quite simply, good quality flies are a gift that will be always appreciated.

In the past, I have suggested giving 12 different fly patterns – a different pattern each day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas – wrapping each different fly pattern in a separate package to be opened Christmas morning. If you want to go one step further, you can give them in a nice fly box.

I personally prefer a plastic fly box that can fit into a shirt pocket. Don’t worry if they already have several fly boxes, because no fly fisher can ever have enough.

A dozen fly patterns would make a very nice, thoughtful gift that would certainly be appreciated throughout the coming fishing season.

If you feel particularly generous and/or have lots of money to spend, give them 12 patterns exponentially – one of one pattern on the first day and 12 of another pattern on the 12th day. Just for your information, that would add up to a total of 78 flies.

At two to three dollars a piece, plus the fly box, it would add up to a fair amount of money, but boy, would it make a nice gift!

One important thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to give the angler on your list a dozen flies, make sure to buy quality ones.

Most good fly shops will have a selection of hand-tied flies, tied by local fly-tyers who know what variation of a pattern works best in local water.

A good fly shop will also help you pick out the right patterns, based on specific waters and type of fishing, for the recipient of your gift.

When I was a kid, I spent many a winter evening tying flies, not only for the coming fishing season, but also as a special gift for my grandfather.

I would pick out the very best of the best and put them together in a box with foam glued to the bottom – not very fancy but it was the thought that counted.

One year I saved up some allowance money and bought him an aluminum model 91 Perrine fly box. I put 12 flies in it. He never got to use them.

A few years ago one of my cousins showed me a fly box that his father (my uncle) had given him. My uncle received it when his father (my grandfather) passed away. It was an aluminum model 91 Perrine.

My cousin said our grandfather always used to say that it was full of his favourite flies. Not all of them were mine, but I like to think that, well, it’s the thought that counts.

Whether you tie the flies yourself or buy quality flies from a store, be assured that you are giving a gift that will be appreciated – even a couple of flies in a card will do.


Remember, a person does not have to go overboard spending a lot of money buying a thoughtful gift because, after all, it really is the thought that counts.



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