Out in the garage there are five or six fly boxes loaded with trout flies. A shelf in the basement holds a couple more trout boxes. Considering how often they get used and how long that inventory will last, well, there is just no need to tie more trout flies. Except, of course, for extended body Hexagenia flies, because the current imitations leave something to be desired.
Surrounded by bass, pike, and muskie water -- so alongside those nifty trout boxes in the garage, crowding the wooden shelf, are the big fly boxes: the bass bugs and muskie streamers. There are no slots or tacky foam in those boxes, just empty space that could hold a fine luncheon if they weren't filled with an array of colorful bucktail, spun deer hair, animal fur, and synthetic fibers all wound on substantial hooks; some you could hang your coat on. A non-fisherman, a civilian, might lift the lid and jump back afraid of what may spring out and pounce on them.
Two or three of those boxes go in the boat, the first with bass poppers and divers. Number two with the clousers and Murdich Minnows and such type streamers. Third box is piled with the big stuff -- articulated, 6/0's, bushy headed Bufords and the like -- the flies that get attached to wire bite tippet, always.
Might be best to go lighter in your buddy's boat. The owner is captain and likely has three large boxes of their own, along with rods and tools and all the other accoutrements that go with owning a boat. If it's all bass fishing maybe try to split one box with half top-water and half sub-surface. If muskies and pike are around, you'll have to bring that box, too. There's no other way. Everyone wants to use their own flies and you'll probably change flies three or four times during the day, so several dozen should be enough.
What about those coffee cans filled with rejects: handfuls of fur and feathers that, despite good intentions, looked too ridiculous to grace a leader. Or deer hair faded from use. Chewed by fish (happily, it happens) Or flies merely replaced to make room for something new. The idea is to strip the material off and re-use the hooks. Any day, now.
But still tying more? Of course. There are new materials to try. Techniques to experiment with: can a dubbing loop really be loaded with that long flash and fake fur? What's with those wire spines, and heck yeah, you can make 'em yourself!
Lakes and rivers are still frozen here but fly fishing is on my mind. So I'm tying some more flies. There's an empty coffee can around here somewhere.