In theory the best fly is always the fly you are fishing. But how is it in reality?
I have tons if flies. I can sink a boat with all the flies I have tied in my life. Many thousand flies I tied in the past years I’m going fly fishing. I started very early tying my own flies to give them my own personal touch. To tune them for the waters I’m fishing. I had a phase where I tied every available pattern. And I wanted them all on the water. The result was that I invested, beside all the fly tying materials also a lot of money into all the fancy fly boxes on the market. I had all of them, from XXL Boxes for 2000 flies to small boxes with just 50 flies. What a waste of money. Finally I fished maybe 1% of all those flies. Although 1% might be even too much. I produced so many flies just for the garbage.
Now the world has changed. It made me a good and effective fly tier which helps me now to produce special flies that work all over the world. I still have a lot of flies but I’m now a much more pragmatic fly tier and fly fisherman. I reduced my fly box to a super tiny fly patch with only a handful of pattern. I don’t need more and I’m still catching a lot of fish. Tying flies is still a passion for me but I’m only doing it where it is really essential.
Recently another fly fisherman was surprised when he checked out my flies on the water. There are not more than 10 patterns in the box and from them I’m using just half of them. One pattern is so effective that I use it almost all over the year for all of my rivers and streams. Its a simple parachute fly made from a dark dun hackle and a dark grey body. I fish only one nymph which a simple hares ear nymph with a small tungsten bead. With this two flies I catch all my fish. There is no need to fish something else. For more wilder waters I have a elk hair caddy fly. I see your head shaking but I promise you that you wouldn’t need more too. :)
Pike fly fishing?? I admit my fly box still contains a lot more flies than I really need. I use 2-3 different color combinations the full year around. Pikes are simple to catch and they give a shit on all the flies in your box. If they are hungry, they pretty much don’t care what you cast at them. Much more important is the technique they are fished. All this can be summed up with experience and a relaxed attitude on the water.
My recommendation: Open your fly box and have a critical look into it. What flies do you really use? How many flies you carry around never been fished? If you’re using just a few flies sort them out and put them into a smaller box and go fishing. If you’re still catching fish you’ll probably come to the same conclusion as me: Reduce to the max!
May your fly box always be full, greets