To retire (a fly) or not? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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To retire (a fly) or not?

Do you retire a fly after you catch a steelhead on it?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 02:53 PM
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I used to, now I fish the “winners” until I lose them, often a single fly out of a set fishes better than the others for whatever reason - and they only seem to fish better the more ragged they get.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 03:08 PM
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I’ll keep fishing a fly until it’s been chewed to bits.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 03:30 PM
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depends on the fish, if its a PB then yes, but sometimes if it just one of those special days where everything was beautiful, then i will probably retire it also, fish or no, just as a reminder of that day, cameron
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 05:25 PM
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Yes. Over the years there are a mere handful of flies that I didn’t retire. The others go on the wall above my tieing bench - hung on a series of broken or no longer used rod sections. A great reminder of what I was fishing at that period of my journey.


"Loud reels save lives"
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 05:41 PM
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Like some of the other guys special days or special fish will see me hanging a fly on my wall above my tying desk
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Bruce Kruk

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Columbia river Speyed trout guide
Columbia River Flyfishing
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 06:27 PM
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I've never done it but i often consider it. Though like brook trout stated the fact they seemingly catch fish easier after a icebreaker fish keeps me fishing them. I almost swear its not a fly bias either, as i like to change flies often just to see what i can get a fish to eat.
Then im very sad when i lose them especially if they have 3 fish or more
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''Fish on''
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 06:31 PM
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Geez Bruce, I see an awful lot of T&L's on that board

I never use to, but these past few seasons I have been retiring flies.
I also grab a stone from the pool or run that let me play with a fish.
Now days every fish is memorable ... fly on my cap for the day, stone in my pack.
At home on the shelf is a piece of driftwood, the fly on the driftwood and the stone goes underneath it on the shelf.


Have you Swung a Spey Fly today ??
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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I have one stone, too, but often I forget to pick one up lol! Also, once I took some sand from one of my favorite beaches on the Big Island, Kua Bay (before it was paved to get there). I kept it in a ziplock for years and on a return trip, I returned the sand to its home. It felt pretty good. My logic was that if everyone takes a handful of sand, soon there won't be any sand left. I'm not trying to be critical of the collection, though, as I love it, too.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 08:41 PM
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I still have the fly I caught my first steelhead on the swing on, and a few special others. But I can tell you that I now WISH I had all of them! Maybe I’d feel different if it we were in the days of loosing track, but I believe if I strain my brain I can probably remember most of the steelhead I landed over the past half decade - it has been that sparse. So now I wish I had kept all of them.

Overall, however, mine would probably look a bit “low-brow” by comparison with Bruce’s row ... if I had them.
The all-important first one, for example, was a lowly bunny leech.

“Gravity is a harsh mistress!”, The Tick
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 08:47 PM
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I have more temporarily retired flies . . . some are retired for less than a day until I lose their duplicate(s) or lose confidence with whatever I have in the box. Others make it home, are pinned to the cork board above my desk, and then days/weeks/months later get the call up and another tour of duty. Unfortunately, I don't think I've ever retired a fly twice. That second time to Nam is a one-way trip.
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The method doesn't matter to the fish.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by GR8LAKES FLYER View Post
Geez Bruce, I see an awful lot of T&L's on that board


All the clown car Glo-Bugs are on the top of the frame.

I'll retire a fly after a special fish or a great trip. Some fished for less than a couple minutes(1st winter dry line fly), some are chewed beyond recognition(BC Muddlers). Mine end up in the ceiling of my truck for riverside stoke.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 09:37 PM
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If I retired every fly that has taken an adult steelhead over the last couple of seasons - it might take two wine corks to fit them all.
Okay, not quite that bad, but closer than I’d like.
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"Only the mediocre are always at their best" - Andy Capp
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 10:46 PM
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In 2005, I went to the Dean River.
I had not planned on going, but went when unexpected openings occurred for two rods.
At the time, I only had an older single handed Orvis 8wt. rod.
I had two lines on that trip: a double taper floating line and a a Hi Speed-Hi D10ft. sink tip.
One evening, fishing the sink tip, I hooked a very large Steelhead.
After the fish had taken large amounts of backing off the reel heading down stream,
the guide and I were forced to follow in the boat.
After a protracted battle, we exited the boat a couple hundred yards down river.
I worked the fish close and got a good look at it. It was around 38 inches in length.
Just as the guide was about to tail the fish, it thrashed on the surface and came free.
My Steelhead of a lifetime slowly swam away.
The fish had taken a fairly small nondescript nymph-like weighted black fly with a red head.
I retired the fly, but still carry it in my fly box.
Even though I now have several Spey rods, reels, and lines-- along with a wide variety of larger flies,
I take pleasure in occasionally looking at that little black fly, while wistfully remembering that evening on the Dean.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-24-2020, 10:45 AM
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I try to do it, and I've got a small collection of retired flies that have caught salmon, steelhead or sea-trout (mostly just the important/memorable ones) and few trout flies that have a story attached or some meaning. I have a wooden Wheatley box I keep them in, nowhere near half full yet.

Every so often I like to get them out and look at them and remind myself of the good times attached.
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