confidence patterns

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    bryan hulse

    Zach’s blog picture got me thinking about go-to flies. Not to disparage Barr’s Copper John, and certainly anyone who loves them, but for me it is one of the last patterns I reach for. It has proven to be unsuccessful for me in any size, color, place or water anywhere. I’m guessing that the same can be said by many of you about any number of the ubiquitous patterns we think should be in our boxes: muddler minnows, black fly patterns (which seem to be some of the current flavors of the month), royal coachmen, hare’s ear nymphs.

    What are some of the standards that everyone else seems to do extremely well with that instill little if any confidence in your selection process?

    alan king

    Olive or Crystal Caddis, Orange Stimmies and Chocolate emergers.


    San Juan Worm.

    bryan hulse

    That’s a great example. I’ve never had much success with that one, either. But, I’ve found that if I use it along mudlines after a rain I get a few more bumps.

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    San Juan Worms and black wooly buggers.


    The Muddler Minnow is my drought fly. I see fish hammered on em but couldn’t get a hit on one to save my own life.


    Any fly with midge in the name. :'(


    I would have to say that the prince is one that I haven’t had as much success with as most.

    bryan hulse

    I don’t fish a Prince often enough to say one way or another. I’ve fished one time and caught one on a muddler. Midging is my favorite form of trouting, but I fish so little these days that not

    John Stanley

    Soft Hackle flies.

    guy karafa

    Anything small that takes me more than 5 minutes to tie on. (and it seems like that “small” is getting bigger daily.) I got to try some of those magnifiers.


    Get a TY-RITE JR. too.

    hugo boots

    My go-to fly is an Ed Story Crackle Back. Its basically a wooly worm pattern with a peacock strip “back”.  

    Can be fished dry or wet.



    Copper Johns! I never catch fish on them.

    A close second would be whatever the newest western cutthroat hopper pattern is that gets shipped over here to the southeast that gets used as a $1.99 indicator all day.

    Third would be zoo cougars or any zoo cougar variation

    Grant Wright

    Gummy Minnow — My friends swear by them for stripers and sand bass, but the only thing I’ve ever caught on Gummy Minnow is moss.

    dave nyberg

    One time I caught fish on a Copper John.  That was the only time.  Just 2 weeks ago I caught several fish on soft hackles.  Never had any luck with them before.  I am now tying soft hackles for use when it warms up.  I hope I am not going to jinx myself.

    Neal Osborn

    I love this topic – I.E. “false confidence” patterns.

    Grant Wright beat me to the punch.

    Neal Osborn

    I love this topic – I.E. “false confidence” patterns.

    Grant Wright beat me to the punch.  I would have to say the all time mis-hyped fly IMHO is the gummy minnow.  I have never caught a single fish on them.  

    Peter E.Peter E.

    Mine has to be the spoon fly, I can’t say how many reds I have thrown that thing in front of only to have them ignore it. I don’t like how it casts either.


    I fish alot of spring creeks so…if we’re not matching the hatch,

    go to patterns:

    1. scud
    2. plain old beadless pheasant tail
    3. zebra midge
    4. buggers. black or olive fished fast and to the banks

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