Published Dec 14th 2005

I have severely neglected my day-to-day flybox for more than a year. It's time to make up for that neglect.


First two kinds - On the left the Grey Frede\'s and on the right ye Olde Red Tag
First two kinds
Updated. The flies I fish with on a frequent basis are usually a sad sight. I fish the salt and I'm not good at doing what any saltwater angler should do: rinse everything after a day's fishing.

I don't do that. I have seen my good friend Carsten from Bornholm stick all the flies he has fished during a day into the small sheepskin patch on his jacket and dunking them in a glass of water upon returning home. He then spreads them on a piece of paper tissue and lets them dry before sticking them back in the flybox. I'll bet you he has his flies for years...

I don't
My flies last a few trips. I tend to stick them back in the box while fishing, and not only does that take its toll on the flies that I have fished, but the salt also seems to spread to the flies, which have never seen action!

My intention is to tie some or all of the following patterns:
I may add some mullet flies to this batch. Next year I'm going to catch a mullet!

Read more about my reasons to choose these flies.

I also tie flies as the need arises. That is usually just a few at a time. Basically what I need for a day of fishing. When I tie more than that it's usually because I experiment. I tie up dozens of strange contraptions, which will never see water because I at waterside regret ever tying them, and just revert to the good old classics.

The net result is a fly box full of rusty, oddball flies that just seem to pile up and never get used. From time to time I then go through the box and remove the worst cases of rusty, fragile hooks, tinted ribbing and collapsed, ugly feathers.

This winter I have set myself a goal, which is forever going to change that - well, maybe not forever, but for a short while at least...
I will produce myself hundreds of neatly tied and uniform flies of my favorite patterns and store them in a special storage flybox, which will never get close to water. I can only take flies out of this box, not put them back in. Not if they have been fished at least.

Two results
One result will be a box full of flies in good condition and an almost-eternal source of new flies that I know I will use in my fishing.
First step - I started out one night with some Grey Frede\'s in a particularly light shade.
First step
The other result will be this article, which will tell the story, slowly grow and finally be a large epos on filling a Danish coastal flybox.

The first batch
I have already started the project and the last couple of evenings I have produced the first batches of flies. The first pattern I tied was the Grey Frede. I had a really nice bleached and dyed grizzly Chickabou skin that I never really used.
These Frede's changed that.
I have tied about 20 of them and used up my stock of Kamasan B800 size 6's in the process. I will buy some more and tie more Frede's.

Running out of hooks for that pattern, I continued to another: Red Tag. I use this true classic quite a lot, and my box is never without a bunch of them.
I used up my batch of Kamasan B175 hooks size 6 for those and now have a dozen or so. So I need more B175's too. And black tying thread. I ran out of that as well.

Red Tags - My last black tying thread and my last Kamasan B175\'s size 6 were spent on a dozen-or-so Red Tags. That is another fly I need in bunches for the coming season.
Red Tags

But I got started quite well on my fill-the-flybox winter project.

Since I have not bought any new hooks yet, I'll take this opportunity to explain to you why I have chosen the particular patterns.

The Grey Frede (not really...) - This is a surefire killer. In essence a Woolly Bugger, but very well adapted to the sea trout in the salt.
The Grey Frede (not really...)
Red Tag - What can go wrong? Red yarn, peacock herl and a small hen hackle.
Red Tag
Grey Frede/Magnus
This is Danish coastal classic, which no flybox on a Baltic coast should be without. I am sure this fly would catch bonefish too, and bass, and of course large brown trout.
It is in essence a grey Woolly Bugger with a twist. I tied the first bunch for this project with some slight variations, kind of a hybrid between the Frede and the Magnus, but will later tie some, which are true to the original. Full tying description here.

Red Tag
I like Red Tags. A fishing friend of mine once said: "flies with peacock herl always catch fish", and the combination of herl and red wool is infallible. I often use Red Tags in small sizes when the water is calm or very clear. Full tying description here.

Danish Pastry Fly
Some flies just work, and this is one that works for me. Its history has been told here already. One thing, which remains to be told, is that 74 out of the 120 sea trout I have caught during the last three years have been taken on this pattern. Full tying description here.

Fair Fly
I love large zonkers and this is one of my favorites for sea trout. Sometimes I just want something with some size and volume. This fly does a good job of that. Full tying description here.

Small Polar Muddler
Muddlers are a must in my box, and even though I have been hooked on foam flies for a while, I still adore and prefer muddlers. During the summer I usually spend some nights on the coast, and muddlers are flies of choice for such occasions. Full tying description here.

Omoe Brush
This is my friend Kens pattern, and even though it's been a couple of years since I last had a fish on one, I love the fly and see others have success with it. It is a great generic pattern, which can be taken for a small clam worm as well as a large gammerus. Full tying description here.

For those few days with dirty water and lots of waves. This is a noisy fly with a size and an appearance that will make it visible in even the murkiest of waters. Full tying description here.

Epoxy Miracle
I have caught a few fish on Kasper's pattern, but all too few. Considering how many sand eels we see, this has to be able to get even more fish. Full tying description here.

Joergen\'s Demon - A Big Hole Demon with a twist
Joergen's Demon
Joergen's Demon
My friend Joergen's variation of the Big Hole Demon has been a permanent part of my boxes over the years. I usually have too few of them. That will be changed this year. This fly has done me particularly well on Bornholm where I intend to spend a spring week again in 2006.

Bonefish CDC&Elk
Paul Slaney's bonefish fly has been my stealth fly of choice for a couple of years. Its soft landing and slow upside-down descent to the bottom makes it a good "sneaky" fly for calm, clear conditions. More here.

Bloody Butcher
I fish this mostly because I just love the pattern: silver, red and black. If the water is clear but turbulent, this is a fly I like to use. Full tying description here.

Klympen is a strange construction, but it has its clear advantages, first and foremost its ability to sink fast even in small sizes. I have had good luck on rainbows with this fly. Full tying description here

Flash chenille on the way - A Demon is taking shape in the vice
Flash chenille on the way

Next I will bring you detailed photos of all patterns as I start tying them and of course let you see the box fill slowly and give you the patterns.

In the meantime you can read about my flybox as it looked a few years ago. Not much has changed, actually.

Frede\'s and Red tags - And plenty of them. The first four rows of flies are done.
Frede's and Red tags
One side
A couple of evenings ago I finished one side of the box. Now, this is a large box, which even has a center leaf, so it essentially has three "sides", but still. A quick count told me that I now have about 40 Grey Frede variants, and about 40 Red Tags - half with bead chain eyes and half without. On top of that I have about 20 Jorgen's Demon's in two sizes.

I'm now going on to tie Klympen, a pattern not yet described on this site, but I will probably shoot some step-by-step iamges of the process and make an article while I'm at it. After that it's muddlers. I owe some muddlers for a book on the subject, and I'll tie up a whole bunch and ship the best ones off to the US.

Empty spools and boxes - Tying bulk soon emptied some of my old spools of thread. I bought a couple of new black ones, only to find my stock of half a dozen unbroken spools! But I had no more hooks of the kind I wanted. Man, are hooks expensive!
Empty spools and boxes
You produce a lot of waste - In the old days I would probably have cut all the surplus and blended it to a nice dubbing. Now it just went into the waste basket... shame on me!
You produce a lot of waste

The Danish Pastry Fly Christmas Style - A variation. Not exactly in natural colors, but I\'ll bet you it could catch a fish!
The Danish Pastry Fly Christmas Style
Christmas sneaked in - Spot the odd fly...
Christmas sneaked in
It's the 24th of december and after having put the traditional Danish goose and duck (yes, we're having both!) in the oven, I have been tying flies again.

This time I have been finishing the row of Danish Pastry Flies. This has been my most succesful pattern the last couple of years, and is bacause of that a pattern that I will need in large numbers. I will tie at least two rows of this one, summing up to about 40 flies. The fly is quick and easy to tie, and it's a perfect choice for speed tying.

Yesterday I finished a row of another favorite, my friend Henning's Klympen. I will return to this fly and make an article on the pattern, it's history, variations and how to tie it. It is another of our recent patterns, which has shown itself to be very efficient. It's not quite as easy to tie, not least because it requires a layer or two of varnish over the copper wire body before the front part can be finished. I will return to this fly.

Until then: enjoy your Christmas!

On the way - Soon both sides will be filled. The flies in the picture are from the upper left: Red Tag, Red Tag with eyes, Danish Pastry flies, Joergen\'s Demon, two rows of a Grey Frede variation and a row of Klympen.
On the way

New Year
Today is the 31st of December 2005 and tonight we're celebrating New Year. My project has been stading still for a few days now. This has several reasons. I have had a lot of other things to do like celebrating Christmas, redecorating the living rooms, being out in the snow and other stuff. I have also been reading a lot, so expect even more book reviews on the site. And I have been watching a lot of movies on tv. For some reason there seems to be an abundancy of movies on tv during the holiday.

The tv-watching has brought me another disturbing element. I have started constructing a small tying bench, which I can have on my lap so that I can tie flies when I'm watching tv. That project is coming along well, and you can rest assured that it will develop into an article on GFF.

Apart from that I have tied a few more Danish Pastry flies, and soon the boxes' lid and bottom will be filled with about 150 flies altogether. There is a hinged middle part too, and either that or another smilar box is going to contain at least another 150. And I may keep on beyond that. With at least 300 flies in my storage boxes, I will feel ready for the Danish coast when the snow melts and the ice breaks.

A good reason to tie flies - One of the reasons I tie flies in stead of go fishing these days.
A good reason to tie flies

More to come...

Ok, I know...
I never got around to update this article with further content. Even though the winter was long and cold and spring never really came, we suddenly had great fishing conditions and started to catch fish.
And who wants to tie flies and write GFF stuff when the fish are jumping?
I will return to the article and the fly tying when I start seeing too many empty slots in the fly box.
- Martin

User comments
From: David A Swart · davidaswart·at·  Link
Submitted December 24th 2009

Very good article,I have allway's wondered about people who have time to keep and neat and tidy box of flies who are they trying to impress not me if you've got time to clean and keep your fly box neat and tidy you're not fishing.Also like you I belive in the K.I.S.S.(keep it simple stupid) theory so I only tie patterns that work and keep a box of flies that are just ones that failed who knows maybe the'll work on some body of water you never know well back to tying keep up the goo stories comming and let the fur and feathers fly
David A Swart

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted July 9th 2007


All these flies will do fine any time of year. The difficulty is not finding the flies, but finding the fish!

In general smaller and duller flies are considered better in the autumn, and last year it was flies like Magnus, Honey Shrimp and small crest bug like patterns that worked.


From: Brian · brian_elward·at·  Link
Submitted July 9th 2007

Are these flies usable during ermmm...let's say a GFF summit late september :) ? I can't find so many pages on flies for late summer. Most flies i see are spring and winter types.

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted January 23rd 2006


These flies will catch most fish that swim... at least the ones eating stuff subsurface, which most fish actually do most of the time. I know that it will be hard catching a fish feeding on midges or chironomids on one of these guys, but if your brook trout eat baitfish or shrimps on occasion and can be enticed by a downstream swung fly, these patterns will probably work.


From: Serge Noel · sergenoel·at·  Link
Submitted January 21st 2006

Hi Martin, superb flies! Do you think I could catch sea brook trouts with these flies in my area : Quebec, Canada (along the Gaspe Peninsula) So far I have not been successful with the flies I am using (brown hackle, Mickey fin, Adams, etc). Thank you for your help.

From: Jan-Ole Willers · olewillers·at·  Link
Submitted December 26th 2005

Dear Martin,

Liked your article with all the nice pictures a lot, it gave me some drive and motivation to put out the vise again to fill up some patterns which are low in stock.

Discovered your site first while I was doing some research in regard of a blank for a rod building job. In general I like the globalflyfisher website and pass by at least every one or two months to check what's new.

My personal world of fishing has two hot spots, one is Northern America with a lot of good suppliers and manufacturers of fishing equipment and some good sites in regard of rod building. The other is the Scandinavian area where I prefer to go fishing, also with some good manufacturers of equipment as well. So what makes the difference between your site in regard of the content and other sites is that it is not a pure regional site like some others, on top it represents exactly the areas which are of my personal interest in this regard.

This just as a small feedback from the internet.


GFF staff comment
Comment to an image
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted June 28th 2006


It certainly reflects the fact that I have fished the fly a majority of the time.
This year I have fished 8 out of 10 fishing hours on the coast with a Magnus fly, and guess which fly has brought me most fish.

Hint: It's not The Danish Pastry fly... ;-)


Comment to an image
From: Lars · lars_flyfish·at·  Link
Submitted June 27th 2006

Martin, are these number maybe reflected in the fact that the Danish Pastry Fly has been on your leaderpoint for 74 out of 120 hours, or do you really find that it "out-powers" other flies?


GFF staff comment
Comment to an image
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted January 8th 2006


I do have a favorite. In the article you will find the following sentences:

Danish Pastry Fly
Some flies just work, and this is one that works for me. Its history has been told here already. One thing, which remains to be told, is that 74 out of the 120 sea trout I have caught during the last three years have been taken on this pattern.

Find a link to the pattern in the article.


Comment to an image
From: Axel · aggelstrelow·at·  Link
Submitted January 7th 2006

Nice page, but have you (for you) the one and only best fly? (seatrout)
I mean the absolut favorite fly for 80% fishing.

Regards and knaek og break from Axel (Germany Kiel)

Comment to an image
From: Ed. Madan · edmadan·at·  Link
Submitted January 6th 2006

Hellow Martin

A note to you and the staff. Thank you----all for a bang up job, the GGF web site has a little something for all of us who enjoy the sport of fly fishing an tying our flies. I bought Leon Link's book Tying Flies With CDC last year after seeing flies with CDC from GGF. 80% of fishing is with wets, soft-hackles, nymphs, this cdc material incorpated with other materials has improved many of my flies. The Zuddler is a fly from your site that has been good for bass an hybrids this year for me. I am looking forward too trying the Bow River Bugger this spring for Large Mouth Bass here in Georgia. From your picture it looks like you are snowed in. Good tying time. Jan. Feb. are the tying months for me. No snow here but cold-wet- windy a lot of the time.

Thanks again for all your hard work to make GGF an enjoyable web site for all.

ED Madan. Lagrange, GA.

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