If you are like me, you sit down and tie as many of the same flies that you can tie that evening. Not all of the flies you tie will be perfect. So, you have tied some flies that would make any discerning trout roll over laughing.
Your first thought might be to just toss the flies. I do not toss them; I keep them for fishing for pan fish. These fish are plentiful and will bite anything. They are also useful in teaching youngsters how to fly fish.
The pan fish is great fun; they come in a variety of colors and sizes from pumpkin seed, spotted sunfish, green sunfish, blue gill, etc. They usually are small – I have caught a couple that were over a pound, but generally they are small. The pan fish running in schools are very easy to catch on a fly rod.
I will use all my less than perfect flies for this reason. Pan fish will bite anything, and on a fly rod they can still seem like you’re fighting Moby Dick. They are also great eating. I will fillet the bigger fish and barbecue them. They are a great little white fish and have an excellent texture for eating.
If you have a youngster that you want to teach fly fishing to, the pan fish is the best fish to teach the youngster to fly fish. They will have a nice feeling of accomplishment, because every time they cast a fly, they should get a bite. Pan fish are generally close to the top of the water, so they will see a swarm of fish around their fly.
You will not be angry when the youngster loses a fly, because the flies should have been thrown in the garbage. You can also fish for pan fish when all the other sport fish have taken cover during the heat of the day.