I've been tying a lot of different flies this winter and fewer of my old stand-bys. This has included, as mentioned before, a number of competition or attractor patterns, and fewer insect-specific ties.
Some of the flies that I'm tying, such as the Juju Baetis, have a very specific purpose. The same is true with wooly buggers. But, some of my newer patterns have included Navy Divers, Neon Firestormers, Frenchies, and Perdigon flies. The last two are the two I'm most curious about for this coming season. Both are sparse, quick sinking flies used internationally in competitions. They are easy ties - a Coq de Leon tail, a bead, and a bright collar are the core of the fly.
The Perdigon uses a Sharpie to create a dark wing case and it has a simple thread body. It is designed to plummet to the bottom.
The Frenchie is really a form of a Pheasant Tail and uses a PT and wire body, an optional ice dub thorax, and then the collar. If you use the ice dub, the key is to match it somewhat to the color of the thread used for the collar.
I've pretty much decided that all of these patterns will inhabit a new box in my pack - a box of just attractor and competition nymphs. I'll see how these do vs. my normal nymphs (PT's, Prince, hare's ear, zug bug, and my various BWO nymphs). I'll simply adjust my fishing from there based on what works.
I ordered some hooks this morning and some slotted tungsten beads. Those should be the last supplies I need to finish up my tying for the winter. With 19 days left to opening day, it's crunch time.
Although, to be honest, opening weekend I'll most likely be stripping gaudy Kelly Galloup streamers for a shot at a big brown. The new nymphs will come into play as the nymph fishing picks up when water levels drop and the water clears up a bit. This will mostly be in May and June, so it may be a while before I know if this new focus will work or not.
This has been a winter of re-thinking a lot of flies and techniques I use. It's completely possible that I'm overthinking everything and I'll end up wishing I had tied more traditional flies over the winter. Or, just maybe, these new flies and some tight line nymphing will elevate my game to the next level.
That's why we call it fishing, I suppose, rather than catching. Until I get onto the water, I honestly have no idea what will happen with the fish. Either way, I'm going to have fun pursuing them.