My head that is!! I am usually thinking about them year round, but during this time of year, the thoughts seem to become stronger since "the season" isn't too far away. Tying flies is one way I try to harness those thoughts and give them some sort of direction.
I like to look at my flies from the last season to bring back memories and to also give me an idea of what I need to tie for the upcoming season. Some flies are solid producers, while others just didn't seem to work. Others have worked before but for some reason didn't work last season. Why? I like to think it was my fault for not being in touch with my surroundings and not reading the signs. I sure don't think the steelhead, the river, or the weather did anything wrong.
Some flies maintain a spot in the lineup while others are removed, but are not forgotten ....their time hasn't come yet. This frees up some space in the box and gives me a reason to tie "new" flies. Sometimes that "new" fly is a pattern that has been around for 75yrs or more, but I haven't tied it yet. "New" may also mean learning a different style or learning to apply a material in a specific manner. Basically what I am getting at is that many a person has come before me and probably already did this before, so it is really not "new" or "innovative"......just different to me. A breath of fresh air so to speak.
This season I plan to tie more married wings and mixed wings for steelhead fishing. Yeah, yeah.....I'm crazy....why would I take that amount of time to do such a thing? If they worked in the past, they have to work now. The time spent doesn't bother me since time doesn't exist when my mind is focused on the fly at hand. To not fish the fly would be stopping the journey short. If it makes you feel better, I do plan on using substitue materials. I'll save the good stuff for show flies.
I have already fished and have had success with various Spey and Dee flies. Some follow the original recipe while others have the colors changed to my liking. I plan to do the same thing with married wings and mixed wings. Just knowing that I will be showing the steelhead something different than all the typical stuff, gives me loads of confidence. Hopefully I will be able to stay the course, and not fall back and tie on "old reliable."
Some of the patterns I plan on tying are the Childers (almost finished), Butcher, a few Doctors, Black Dog, Green Highlander, Drake Wing, Ghost Fly, and some other are on the list as well.