Flies to die for?

The Royal Coachman. Worth dying for?

Let’s have a little fun, if no other reason than to talk about those fly patterns that just never seem to let us down. Here’s the question:

What fly would you climb out on a limb to retrieve, even if the limb looked a little sketchy and the tumble you’d take might be a rough one?

For me, the answer is simple. I love the Royal Coachman. It doesn’t look like anything in particular, but on backcountry creeks and streams, it’s almost always in my fly box, and it almost never lets me down. But there’s more to it than that. While I love to fish it, I absolutely hate to tie it—the peacock herl and the floss and the double hackle … it just takes time and patience. If you knew how many “F-bombs” I dropped while tying the one above, you’d appreciate it more, too. Same goes for its sibling, the Yellow Coachman. Sometimes, it’s all they’ll eat.

So, when I get one hung up in a tree or a willow branch somewhere, I’ll go to some pretty great lengths to get it back.

How about you? What’s the fly for which you’d risk life and limb to retrieve?

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.