I've gotten away from the big intruders and rabbit strip flies, and gone to speys and more traditional Atlantic salmon style flies. Two reasons: 1) less bulk means I can use lighter tips, and 2) I like picturing them in the water during the swing.
My story is much the same
My switch over was to elaborate mixed wings and married wings with multiple ribs, multi-coloured floss and seal bodies.
Now stage two in my journey has me tying quite the opposite. Simplistic feather wings and hair wings seem more fishy-sexy than ever.
I look for the sink factor, colour, profile, movement and contrast. More boxes the pattern checks, the more confident I am swinging it and the more I feel the fly is fishy-sexy
I still rely on my Dee strip flies in winter, but substitute the heron for blood plumes from turkey or BEP
Old traditional speys, tied to Mr. Brown's call outs, Kings, Raichs and Speals ... a Carron fly and self patterned to the same style are still staples. I find the colder it gets in the GL's, the better these old speys produce for me.
Speaking of bucktails, just tied this the other night:
I don't have too many bright day patterns ... hoping this Mickey will entice a pull.
It checks every box