I carry a lot of “atypical” things in my fishing vest. I mean stuff you don’t normally find at a fly shop. For example, I always carry Super Glue and dental floss, in case I have to fix a guide on my rod; Holly Twist yarn to make strike indicators; and nail clippers, in case my fancy nippers fall off the zinger.
But perhaps the most interesting thing I carry is a baby comb. (Okay, I hear the jokes from those of you who know me well enough to have seen what’s underneath the hat. What would you need with a comb, Deeter?)
Actually, I have become a stickler for combing out my flies before I fish them. I think if you run a dry fly through the teeth of a comb (work the fly on the comb, rather than raking the fly over with the comb) before you dab floatant on it (or dress it some other way), it’s going to look more natural, hold its profile better once it gets wet, and catch more fish. Moreover, if you comb the grit and gunk out of your flies after you are done fishing, they’ll last much longer than they will otherwise.
I’ve also started combing out streamer flies, partly for the same reason of keeping them clean, but also because I think combing through and loosening up the tail feathers helps to make those materials undulate and flutter better in the water. And that attracts bites.
You might want to give it a try. A 39-cent plastic comb doesn’t take up much space in your vest or pack, weighs virtually nothing, and can save you money on flies in the long run. If it helps you catch fish as well, what’s not to love?