After many years of carrying a select group of my favorite streamers in a fairly small box, I now find myself in an experimental phase with the big bugs again. I’m generally in the camp that believes presentation is far more important than pattern, but trying new stuff is fun, dammit, and changing things up can keep you in the game.
Previously, I used foam Morell boxes for almost everything, but I’ve since moved to these slit foam boxes from Allen Fly Co.
They are better than my other boxes because they are waterproof, rigid, deep, fit perfectly inside my long vest pockets, and I can keep all of my nymphs and wets in one box. Years ago, I removed the middle sleeve from a second box and used it for dries; this allowed me to keep parachute style flies on one side, and full hackled, bushy dries on the other, without the tops of one row of flies crushing the others on the opposite side when the box is closed.
So … when I wanted to add some streamers to experiment with, I figured I’d move all the streamers to another box and do the same thing. It works, but the large hooks of a size 4 streamer often don’t want to hold in the slit foam. Also, there’s the problem of the large articulated beasts having two hooks that don’t line up with the foam rows.
Now, I’m well aware that there are boxes out there specifically designed to solve the problems I mentioned above, by these are my problems and I have a habit of wanting to find my own in-house solutions. Here’s what I did …..
First I removed all of the foam rows on the left side (I left one row attached, just for the picture, in the case that anyone is unfamiliar with slit foam).
I kept the slit foam intact on the right side, because I still like how it holds the smaller patterns — no need to try and fix a good thing. Also, note that I removed the middle flap.
Then I took some thick foam that I had laying around from when I built Cicada patterns seven years ago (MAN, that was good fishing). It’s foam that I got at a craft store, and it’s a good bit thicker and a little denser than the thickest stuff you can get in a fly shop. It came in a sheet of 8 x 11, and I cut it to size and used contact cement to firmly attach it to the left panel.
There’s really nothing special here, as lots of guys have been using sheet foam glued in to things like Altoids tins to make homemade fly boxes for years, but I like this. I can lay out the large patterns wherever I want on the left and keep the smaller stuff on the right; and because it’s deep, the hackle of those Buggers isn’t crushed by the flies on the other side. It’s also just the right size to get everything that I should need to carry in one box. I like to restrict myself that way. Too many fly boxes = too many options, and I find myself changing flies too often.
We’d love to hear about how you carry your streamers, but boat boxes don’t count. Gotta be something portable. What’s your system?
Enjoy the day.
T R O U T B I T T E N