Most overrated fly? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Most overrated fly?

Dble Haul
03-29-2004, 10:08 AM
We constantly hear of what works in the way of fly patterns, and have our own experiences of success with certain types. But what in your experience is the most overrated fly? In other words, what fly is allegedly very good in a certain application but hasn't really done anything for you?

This question is for any type of flyfishing, for any species.

Willie Gunn
03-29-2004, 10:46 AM
It has to be the Ali Shrimp after all it is just a simplified dressing of a general Practictioneer. Now when you get Yellow/red whatever Alis give me patience.

03-29-2004, 10:48 AM
Any Fly tied By Dave Fix!:D :devil: :chuckle: ...Take it easy Dave...just kidding!

John Desjardins
03-29-2004, 10:56 AM
Hard foam or balsa poppers.

03-29-2004, 10:59 AM
Any beetle pattern. Hoppers and ants are a different story...;)

03-29-2004, 11:23 AM
Anything in saltwater with jungle cock.

The patented Teeny nymph.

Royal coachman.

Anything that has a person's name on it that the person himself coined. However, anything that has the persons name on it that others coined is usually under-rated.

03-29-2004, 11:42 AM
The patented Teeny nymph.

Royal coachman.

Used to 'swear by, now I 'swear at .....':devil:

John Desjardins
03-29-2004, 11:49 AM
Now that I think of it I don't think I've caught anything on a Royal Coachman either.

03-29-2004, 11:52 AM

03-29-2004, 11:52 AM
"patented" Teeny Nymph...I love it :hehe:

Othwise known as a "pheasant tail" which has been around since the dawn of flyfishing and is one of the deadliest patterns in the book!

North Island
03-29-2004, 12:23 PM
The Black Practitioner.

I have tied and lost hundreds and they have yet to produce!

In fact one summer day my wife was using an incredibly simple to tie Black Marabou Leech and I an exquisit example of a Black Practitioner. The summer run steelhead favoured the fly I could have tied with mittens on.


Dble Haul
03-29-2004, 12:32 PM
I've taken fish on a Royal Coachman streamer and Royal Coachman wet fly, but never on the dry version of it. That's definitely up there on my list.

I also have to list any deer hair bug that looks exactly like the prey it's supposed to imitate. If it's supposed to imitate a frog and looks like it just jumped off of a lily pad and into a flybin, it's almost useless in my book. I'll take impressionism over imitation any time with those patterns. Something that suggests life rather than painstakingly copying it.

03-29-2004, 01:01 PM
Usually if name is associated by the creator, usually a dud. Except the Brad's Brat and the Al's special. Have caught steelhead on both. But agreed on the royal coachman. Have caught fish on it, but have had better success with other patterns.

03-29-2004, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by striblue
Any Fly tied By Dave Fix!:D :devil: :chuckle: ...Take it easy Dave...just kidding!



03-29-2004, 01:49 PM
Muddler minnow - every box has one but none produce.

03-29-2004, 03:21 PM
Caught lots of trout on dry Royal Coachmans even the old fan wing versions.

Black Marabous are good, simple and effective.

Most overrated:

Steelhead skunk and GB skunk at least for me. Now a Black Bear Green Butt hair wing has worked but not a traditional white wing steelhead skunk hair wing, go figure.

Teeny Nymphs I guess them also but probably did not give them much of a chance after a half hour of nothing I am back to the old reliables like others.



03-29-2004, 04:14 PM
personaly i can't think of any flies that i have that haven't caught at least one fish for me

i'll get back to you on this

03-29-2004, 04:34 PM
Dahlberg Divers (style)
I kep tying them, fishing them, loosing them but I have yet to catch anything on THEM

03-29-2004, 04:53 PM
Muddler Minnow may be the one fly I would use if I was limited to one for all fresh water species. Well I would like to have it in a few colors though. its always been very successful for trout, salmon, and small mouth bass any way.


03-29-2004, 04:54 PM
Anything my brother in law ties.....,

03-29-2004, 05:26 PM
The most over-rated fly is the one you're fishing and ~not~ catching fish on! :devil: :devil:

03-29-2004, 08:40 PM
Most over rated steelhead by far is the green butt skunk

it's impossible for the muddler to be overrated it catches way to many fish..

Also for trout anything with cdc is WAY over rated also the Kaufmans stone nymph is over rated

03-29-2004, 09:59 PM
But river to river things can be different.

Fly #1: couldn't agree more;
Fly # 2: ditto
Fly #3: don't really know anyone 'down here' who uses cdc's;
Fly # 4: will take a LOT of fish on the upper Rogue. Probably local fav. right after the Otis Bug.


03-29-2004, 10:05 PM
THe GBS is not as bad as the ESL... at least it has a cooler name.

03-30-2004, 12:12 AM
For steelhead, I agree with roballen, the GB skunk is very overated. But if you put a black wing on it and make it a GB Black Bear, it is a very different animal.

For trout, the realistic stonefly nymphs. I tied and fished them for a couple of years back in the 70's, never caught a fish on one. I found the Charlies Brooks tied in-the-round stonefly nymphs were very effective.

Griffiths Gnat is not very good except if there is a lot of half-drowned Midges that haven't been able to fully extract themselves from the pupal shuck, and that is not a very common occurance.

I tie and fish the Ally's Shrimp and the G.P. and find the the Ally's is more effective in faster water and the G.P. more effective in slower water.

03-30-2004, 12:39 AM
In Defense of the "Royal Coachman"

I have only caught a few ( maybe 5) fish that were resident Rainbows in excess of 5 Pounds on a dry fly that was one of the various forms of a Royal Coachman. However I have been led by my own free spirit to test the limits of my abilitys to catch very large Steelheads on the surface with various versions of the "RoyalCoachmen.".
One of these attempts was on the Thompson River at Spences Bridge. It was a late afternoon in mid November I had been on the water since early in the morning and had been doing well not only this day but for several before, on occasion the "T" would reward those who put in there time on her waters!
This particular day I was fishing a Royal Coachman as I had been for the last three weeks. ("To be continued" )
I started this affair with the Royal Coachman in Northern B.C. in the Skeena Country and was just fishing my way South from Alaska. I had arrived at Spences Bridge on the 27th of September after a wonderful time on the Skeena River.
My good Friend Wes Drain had passed away recently and I had decided to fish only the Skunk for the fall season as he was the originator of that pattern and I had chosen to do this in his memory... As i fished my way South I realised that Wes and I were not entirely amused at how this was going.
Simply stated it doesn't matter who your friends, are or what there patterns are, the fish do not really care! I was tired of catching fish on black and white flies.
I arrived on the Thompson and decided that I would fish just one other pattern for the remainder of the season. It was the only other pattern that I had personally disscussed with Wes, the Royal Coachman.
Now it so happens that I arrived at Johns Rock about a half hour before Dark. The only other person there was Bob York it was not a dead heat to the water but Bob was walking with a two handed (over hand 17.5') 11 wt with a sink tip and "I " was fishing a 11' 8wt that required but 1 hand and the fly would be on top of the water.
. Bob being the easy going fellow that few others ever new suggested that I take the bottom half of Johns Rock. (I guess that meant he wanted the top half).
Bob went up! I waded out to position myself slightly upstream of the "Three rock set" a tough wade to be sure but not for the Thompsom regulars as myself. I waded up to my jacket pockets as was the norm and took my fly from the keeper.
There was a slight wind at my back and this was good as the three rock set was a good 115' from where I stood. I doubt the wind was more than 10 MPH ( I still do not know meters). I was casting a Cortland Line that was 115' with a 12' leader and the backing knot was about 6" beyond the reel when the cast was complete.
I gave the fly line a hefty toss to mend the fly over the closest of the three rocks (the one that was nearest to the main force of the river) There arose a "Huge bulge" in the surface film as a steelhead of great size rose to the surface and engulfed my "Royal Coachman". The huge Buck headed straight away for the mouth of the Nicola.
I really do not know how many times he jumped as I was headed towards the Spur and was trying desperatley to get my Cleats off as I knew the fish would soon follow.
Somewhere between where I hooked this Buck and the head of the Spur Bar it jumped (I'm told another dozen times) I myself was just trying to get my stream cleats off and run as fast as I could down stream!
When I made it to the top of the Spur I was dissapointed in that the fish was obviously entangled in the large rocks at the head of the pool. I had taken my stream cleats off at the bottom of Johns Rock thats a long way from the head of the spur (ouch). I waded slowly out to where the fish was "hung up" and I was astounded that I could all but reach down and touch it. The fish was not hung up it was just BIG and was not interested in me or my little Royal Coachman Fly.
The Spur is a good long pool of maybe 300 yards any way the fish decided to use the rest of the pool in his next run and jump sequence. Probably jumped less than a dozen times and only ran from the bottom of the Spur to the top once! I'll bet that the whole distance is close to a mile from GRAB to when I put my tape on the fish about 5 minutes later
Thompson River Royal Coachman on the surface there are several formulas for weight re. steelheads I always say the good ones are memorable. : 40.25X 25.75
You don't beleive in the "Royal Coachman" you must be a Metro Sexual":devil:

03-30-2004, 01:38 AM
Wonderful story Moonlight...absolutely wonderful! :)

03-30-2004, 05:28 AM
Ken Abrames flat wing flies. Well I have done it . I will probably get flamed by all the Moonies. I think that these flies are overrated. I have seen Moonies fish with these flies even when they are not working and refuse to use a Clouser when it's working. They are expensive to tie and for me are not the super killer fly that the Creator claims they are. Just my .02

03-30-2004, 07:22 AM
Mr FishHawk...
Please contact: ASAP for further instructions and "reassignment"...
It was nice knowing you! :D

John Desjardins
03-30-2004, 08:45 AM
Sprocket, The prototypical muddlers sold in shops do not work well in the Northeast IMHO. it just doesn't match the forrage. However tie them unweighted with white or brown maribou and a smaller head and its a different story.

03-30-2004, 09:09 AM
Moonlight -

After reading your lucid account of the very spot where I landed my first Thompson steelhead, I nearly jumped out of my leather pants and Gucci shoes, spilling my double half-caf vanilla latte on my silk blazer. HAHA

Seriously I loved the story yet I think you'd agree that any dry skated with the same caddissy (is that a word?) suggestive colors, including a muddler (muddlers were named as well) would have brought that fish to the skating presentation and in fact the fly itself, however credible with magical abilities in this context, was not in and of itself critical to hooking that buck.

Besides a fly can not be over-rated unless it's highly rated to begin with, and a steelhead coachman is not a highly rated fly so to your point perhaps it's under-rated.

For the record, I named the coachman in the context of trout flies and trout fishing, where despite my own passion for steelhead and John's Rock I do feel the 'trout' coachman is an over-rated fly for trout primarily because it is so highly rated in flyfishing lore.

Although it's a great thread one problem here is the interplay of perspectives - some guys are trouters, some die-hard steelhead swingers, some salty strip-retrievers. It's interesting but does create ambiguity FWIW.

The muddler (my variant the 'sedge' muddler) is one of my top flies for summer steelhead, my toenails curl thinking about some of the torpedo takes I've had from bright summer searun rainbows in the teens (pounds of course) on a flopping muddler in bright June rivers on Cascade Mtn rivers in Washington state... yet I could see how some would think it to be a 'dud' on a Vermont spring creek.

03-30-2004, 09:29 AM
Juro I agree that any fly would have worked I guess that was the point!
John D that marabou backside Muddler is a scary fly definitely "Under Rated" . I'm almost afraid to click on that witness protection sight what with Home Land Security and the NSA snooping around:D .

03-30-2004, 11:01 AM
Assuming this thread is mostly tongue in cheek I'll offer my thoughts...

My meagher experience, for where I've been fishing over the last several years, suggest anything other than a Clouser or Clouser varient is highly overated.

I find the jungle cock eyes to be attractive and durable on the flatwings I tied last year. On the other hand these flies were not molested by many fish so I'm not so sure about the durability.

Fishhawk, you broke a couple of Vito's rules and proverbs. To paraphrase:

"Never let anybody outside the family know what your thinking"

"Keep your friends close and your enimies closer"

03-30-2004, 12:06 PM
Following on from an earlier theme - anything that looks perfect out of the water is over-rated:devil:

03-30-2004, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by Adrian
Following on from an earlier theme - anything that looks perfect out of the water is over-rated:devil:


I noticed at the fly shows this year that you can almost tell the casual visitor fromt the avid fishermen by the flies they pick up. It was uncanny that almost without exception the flies that looked cool (the more elaborate the better) but were not neccessarily what I would consider to be a fishing tool were the most popular with the newcomer or casual spectator.

Oh and I think the deep eel is the most overrated fly!:tsk_tsk:


03-30-2004, 04:47 PM
Have to agree on the royal coachman, but not on the beetle. Out west here they are deadly. Also agree on the muddler. It is more of a throw back then a good fly, for that matter any atlantic salmon full dressed pattern. They are nice to look at but not to fish with

04-02-2004, 10:15 PM
This will definitely get at you. A Clouser. Its rod kill rate exceeds the total kill rate of the USAF in WW2. Its dangerous and bloody awful for beginners, yet people keep on shoving it at newbys.
It might be a very productive fly, in the hands of good casters, but thats not the whole story. The most productive version is a fluoro chartruse model, which is obviously obvious.
Its really a jig, and works very well on light spin gear. I'm not very picky about flies, but if a light castable spoon, the Spoon Flee, is not a fly then neither is a Clouser. Sorry Bob. Max

04-03-2004, 05:38 AM
This is an interesting thread. Some posts are true to the initial question, others have strayed but they are all interesting.

If we were to take a moment to define "over-rated" I would venture:

The general perception by the public far exceeds it's actual effectiveness.

Or something like that. :p

So therefore, in order to qualify for over-rated, we should assign a rating, 1-10 for (a) reputation and also for (b) effectiveness.

Reputation is subjective and would require averaging of many opinions (region, species, fresh/salt, etc).

Effectiveness is diluted by those who do not use the fly for it's design intent and we should ignore improper applications of the pattern (trying to fish a bunny dry, etc).

So let's take the controversial clouser for a first fly. The perception rating is probably about an 8, all told. That is to say 8 out of 10 with a valid opinion (proper application of fly) favor the fly and act on this by keeping it in their box.

The effectiveness rating is about 7, I would guess. Meaning that it's not the best, it's not the worst, but it's two ticks higher than average.

Therefore the rating and the effectiveness is very close togehter and I would conclude it is NOT over-rated however it is loved by some and hated by others, which lowers it's rating making it less likely to be over-rated. Let's not confuse controversy with rating.

Now lets apply this to the muddler, another controversial fly in this thread. It's rating for reputation is about a 9, and it's effectiveness rating is about 6 when considering all venues (western rivers, salmon, river bass, eastern trout, warmwater) and all other alternative patterns for the application. It's gap is also moderately close, so I would argue that it's not over-rated at all.

I would suggest that if you really want to provide a good example of an over-rated fly, provide the perception rating # and the effectiveness rating # based on design intent of the fly.

Those flies with a big gap (high/low) are truly over-rated. Otherwise it's just venting pet peeves, which is OK but of questionable valuable in actually determining over-rating of flies.


Dble Haul
04-03-2004, 08:49 AM
Yes, and let's please not turn this into one of those "what is or is not a fly" threads.....I seem to remember a certain troublemaker a few years ago who started such a thread, and I think he should have been banned. :p :devil:

04-03-2004, 06:59 PM
I think there is a valid argument about what constitutes a fly and what doesn't, but it's just opinion. I usually say that if you can cast it successfully on fly fishing tackle, it's a fly. I agree that a Clouser in the right place can be a good fly, for those who are not just entering the sport, or are short of funds to keep on buying rods. We are not all high flyers, nor are we well publicised gurus, and not all of us can break a rod a week, or two per day because the sponsor's can find another dozen post haste.
I think if we had a post which was titled, "Have you clousered your pet rod, and how many have you destroyed???" you might get a shock because there are a lot of beginners and old hands out there with loose pieces of graphite floating around. I can't cast all that well, and cannot afford to break rods, so Clousers are not in my fly box.
I regard flies as useful if they are easy to tie, catch fish of many species in many places, easy to cast and do not damage rods etc.
There are a lot of good flies like that, and a few which are disasters.
I think it's a valid point, but I understand that it will draw the flies.
Cheers Max

Greg Pavlov
04-03-2004, 08:05 PM
Originally posted by Sprocket
Muddler minnow - every box has one but none produce.
Same for me, but I'm thinkin' that with the Gobi infestation in Lake Erie, dark muddlers *should* be great for smallmouth.

Dble Haul
04-05-2004, 08:09 AM
Max- FYI, I was poking fun at myself in that last post. ;)

04-05-2004, 11:03 AM
Hey Mark, are you admitting an indescretion, or is it just stirring the pot. Join the club, that makes two of us. VBG. Max

04-05-2004, 11:43 AM
I have to say dry flies...mostly because it takes soooooooooooo long to tie them and then I almst never catch anything with them.:(

04-05-2004, 02:49 PM
Any fly that a steelhead was just caught with is over rated. We all know it is not the fly but the presentation.

04-06-2004, 12:51 PM
I have caught many trout on royal cochman dries in fact the ones I have left are chewed beyond recognition,time to tie more. also I would not be caught anywhere without my foam ant patterns exspeciely late in the season beetles also have a spot in my box.As for muddlers have had awsom action fishing them dry and wet. I think the dry fly I have caught the most trout on is the adams dry size 12-14. As for the salt cant beat Juros eel almost never take it off!! also grocrey flies in pink colors. As for overated patterns large wulff hair drys but have used them succsesfully for L.L salmon in fast water. I think alot of patterns and I am sure alot of you will agree are made to catch anglers not fish! I tend to fish more traditional patterns for trout. But is is fun to try new and different ( some times obscure) patterns.Some of the places I fish in northern maine it is a blast to use some of the strangest patterns in your box and you will be surprised at how wild brook trout will react:hehe:

04-08-2004, 05:00 PM
sorry for any misspelling....
a few poopoo's regarding the clouser and it's reputation as a rod destroying machine... while i certainly don't fish them exclusively, i've fished them enough to think i may have seen such a concern. and i haven't. and i think a big part of that "problem" and concern/reputation, and something that was touched on earlier in this thread/another, is the wide variety of "tying styles" in the commercial and pvt. clouser ties that are out there. in a fly fisherman magazine article i saw once, bob and the article's author lamented that too many of the clousers out there are poorly tied, meaning that the eyes and materials, both in quantity/density of hair and length were so often poorly matched, resulting in the casting abominations that many have talked about here. properly tied, with the right balance of eye weight, eye position on the hook (one of the most overlooked sins i've seen in commercial ties) and the length and density of hair material used is crucial to the performance of the fly, both in casting and fishing/in-the-water. i tied them with some of the heaviest lead eyes available, properly matched to the hook and hair length/density (per Bob C.'s instructions) and have never had problems with crashing into rods/back of my head/a$$/etc. true, your loop needs to open up a bit, but not to an extreme that casting performance is compromised. my $.02....
as far as over rated, i don't think so; like every fly, there are times when it's appropriate and versatile, and times when it isn't. but you can't argue with the fact that it has and continues to catch such a HUGE variety of fish species, fresh and saltwater, over a variety of fishing conditions. not many other flies out there that have demonstrated that kind of versatility!!!

04-09-2004, 07:19 AM
Well mebbe so, and I agree it catches fish, but it's not for every body and particularly newby's to the fly casting game. There are a few really good flies, that work everywhere, in fresh and salt water, out there and some are going to still be in use in the next century, if there are fish to catch. I guess a clouser, properly constructed and fished might be one of those, if it's Flourescent chartruse. Max

04-09-2004, 08:14 AM
Feiger -

You make an excellent point. When 6" of ultrahair is matched with a 7/32" tungsten eye about 1/2" back from the far end of the eye on a 1/0 811s TMC hook, the balance is good enough to create no sensation of slingshotting and very little air resistance. The only reason I use a weighted eye is to make the hook ride up on the shallow flats. This is a key design aspect for bonefish flies as well. Being a sight fishing dude on Cape Cod's flats a fly that rides hook up is often critical.

Besides, hitting oneself or the rod is a sign of dangerous casting style, most likely casting on the same side as the wind or casting with a vertical rod angle as opposed to the outward canted angle. Striped bass fishermen are a large community here on the northeast atlantic coast and the majority have learned to deal with crossing winds by casting their backcast in this situation. Two-handed afficionados (growing population) often use a cross-body cast which when performed with two hands throws a fierce loop with little energy, or puts the left hand up depending on preference.

Tying a balanced fly while dealing with wind conditions properly ensures that neither the rod nor the angler will be hit by the fly.

Robert Meiser
04-09-2004, 10:40 AM
While attending an FFF tying event a few years ago, I listened in on a heavy discussion concerning the Royal Coachman.

When the final tally was in on exactly what the Royal Coachman was.... Dave Roberts really nailed it......Explaing in great detail that the Royal Coachman is actually an adult Prince Nymph.

The Teeny Nymph was the first larval phase insect destined to emerge in a bubble pack......I've always assumed as a "Skykomish Flies" Drake.

"Lamire Fall Caddis...Lamire Greased Liner" and the "Quigley Cripple" are three named flies that I will ALWAYS have in my box.

...And I gotta admit that Poly's "Fuzzy Nymph" will always drew a pleasant Ruebenesque visual......!!!


04-09-2004, 06:27 PM
Easy Meiz! We, uh, middle-aged guys need to be careful about the thoughts we may have about "fuzzy nymphs". Something statutory I believe can get in the way.

Robert Meiser
04-09-2004, 07:13 PM

The walls of Poly Rosborough's tying room in his Chiloquin trailer were legendary....Proudly papered with fold-up "Fuzzy Nymphs"

My friend Jim Long filmed the video: "Tying the Fuzzy Nymph", and did so in Poly's home.

The back drop of the shooting area needed a few adjustments to keep it suitable for family viewing.....};^).....!!!

Many of the old timers in Down State Oregon always have some great stories to share about Poly.

I only had a chance to meet him a few times....Quite a guy....And truly an inventive tyer whose patterns still hold true if fished right.

His drowned Hex will still clobber the big boys on the Williamson !


04-09-2004, 08:31 PM

I've heard that about Polly from some other folk over the years. I only got the opportunity to see him tie at a gathering once. I do like his flies a lot because they are so darned effective when tied correctly. Unfortunately, too many folks tie his flies too purty and they loose their effectiveness.

As for the "fold-up fuzzy nymphs", you know we married folk have no need for such accoutrements.:devil:

05-01-2004, 05:35 PM
The coachman and bright Flor. bass poppers

05-03-2004, 12:55 PM
Mickey Finn.:
I know that it is supposed to be such a great brook trout fly and takes landlocked and slink salmon in New Brunswick (NB), but I have never caught a thing on it. I have given it a fair test too. I think I foul hooked a gaspereau on one once. My father loved Mickey Finns but he grew up in NB in the 40s and 50s when there were a lot more fish than there are now.


05-08-2004, 03:10 AM
the gbs is the best flie when tied low water on the snake and grand ronde until it gets colder than 45 degrees. what is the esl? english second language or extra special liver?

05-08-2004, 07:21 AM
ESl = egg sucking leech aka lawyer fly. LOL


05-09-2004, 03:13 AM
those big stonefly nymphs. all i do is leave them on the bottom of rivers.