Life of the Party
Couple have put it better myself. Thanks for chiming in James.@Tom Butler @mcswny super interesting conversation here. I have caught so many fish on PT's and Pat's Rubber Legs its insane. What I haven't caught a fish on is a prince nymph. Proven pattern for sure, and I am sure folks here have caught countless fish on them. But these days I can't talk myself in to tying one on.
Here is my take away, that which alludes to what a few have said here...confidence. We all have flies that work for us. We tie those on first, and likely fish them until we know the fish are seeing them, but not taking them. Then we tie on a different confidence pattern, and then another after that. Conversely, we'll tie on a pattern that we have heard works well, fish it with limited confidence, and when it doesn't work on the first few casts, we quickly switch flies to our confidence patterns.
I think all the flies work (even the prince nymph, which I despise, won't tie, and literally will not tie on the end of my line), but we make them work. We make them work based on how we fish them. I will always catch more fish on flies I tie because I will fish them harder, with confidence, and how much I want to catch a fish on them. If we fish a fly we don't have as much confidence in, we aren't fishing them as hard, possibly annoyed that they aren't working, quick to change them, and thus they get less fishing time.
Anyways, just my opinion. I had the best fall on my home waters on a pattern I randomly made up for a completely different river (which also caught 0 fish on said river). No confidence in it, but it was an original fly I tied, so it had a chance at least. Tried it as a dropper for fun and turned out the fish couldn't lay off it. Sometimes timing is key too!
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