I’ve come to realise that over a season of trout and salmon fishing I only seem to use a handful of fly patterns yet I seem to have hundreds of flies and just as many fly boxes to store them in.
Most of my fly boxes are made by Wheatley thou I have a couple of Hardy and Farlow branded ones. Several small vest size boxes and a few larger compartment boxes but all seem to come out on every fishing trip. Some of my Wheatley boxes are very old and I now realise are collectors items, others are 10 to 20 years old and I guess the oldest one I purchased must be now 39 years old, as I purchased it with the money I use to earn when I did a milk round for the local farm, Quill Hall Farm in Amersham.
I noticed on eBay that Wheatley and Hardy branded fly boxes are fetching a premium and are usually bid for eagerly. The older they are the more they are commanding and on average a small clip box will achieve £15-23 and larger boxes will get in the region of £35-45. If they have compartments they will usually fetch a £10 premium over the clip version. The Hardy branded versions of the Wheatley made boxes are usually double in value with many now fetching £55-120 and upwards. A Hardy Neroda fly box will cost over £100 and most will cost £175 if in good condition.
The vintage boxes I have purchased have been mainly for the contents of some of the old fly patterns contained and to be honest is a good way to purchase flies cheaply with the bonus of the box. Aesthetically, a fly box full of flies is a beautiful item to own especially if full of salmon flies, the colours, feathers, fur, copper and silver wire all add to the glorious visual as if looking at the splendour of a herbaceous border in full flower.
I’ve come to realise that you could probably put all the flies you need for a seasons fishing in one box but as any fisherman will say you do need a few…