How many basic characteristics of a fly pattern are there? If you were to boil any fly down to a set of core factors that need to be considered, how many would you list?
Designers deal with complexities, by breaking them down into groupings, of simpler concepts.
For our purposes, this structural analysis can be applied to help make original fly creation understandable, and teachable.
When you see how a fly pattern fits into the overall matrix of fly tying concepts, it becomes more clear how the pattern differs, why it works, and what qualities can be incorporated into your own creations.
The ultimate is when the light bulb goes on, and a fly tier creates a successful pattern that breaks new ground.
One of the greatest thrills in fly fishing is fooling a fish with a fly of your own creation. Understanding how to identify the ideas behind a fly pattern – is a key to having that experience often.
The above was written in 2010 and recently unearthed in my email draft archives.