You love to snare hogs with big, nasty streamers. You’re all about that triple articulation. I get it, because so am I. Now you’re on quarantine and you’ve got plenty of bucktail, Flashabou, and bunny strips to keep you busy at the vise. When we emerge from this viral madness, your boxes will be brimming with meaty goodness. You’ll be as badass as Snake Plissken on the river. Except I guarantee Snake (and John Connor) wouldn’t be pissing away a precious minute tying a Drunk & Disorderly right now.

What if this is it, man, end times? Being loaded up on Sex Dungeons is the equivalent of choosing an elephant gun as your post-apocalyptic side arm. I know you feel it suits you, but let’s be honest, you only see a few elephants per season anyway (and some of those “24-inch” elephants were more like 19-20 inches tops). When the shit hits the fan, you’re going to have to shoot squirrels.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “If we’re about to get all Mad Max, then what’s the point of fly fishing anyway, Cermele? I’m going to stock up on Power Bait.” Wrong. There won’t be any Power Bait. There won’t be any bait except for what you can collect or make yourself. When the shops close, these five flies will reign supreme. Start tying. It’s common sense.

Mop Flies
I hate mop flies, but if a bug was ever to become a form of currency in dire days, I’d put my money on this one. In a two-week quarantine, you can knock out enough mops to fill an underground bunker, and in terms of versatility, they’re hard to beat. It’s a worm, it’s a crappie jig, it’s a carp morsel, and a tiny baitfish among many other things. Hell, I even know people that have caught bonefish with mop flies. They’re pretty durable, and that wiggly ass end holds scent well (so I’ve heard). If you’re down to your last Ritz Bitz sandwich, think long term and use that squeeze cheese to rub down all your mops. It’s like shaking water in an empty bottle of shampoo. To date, there’s been no run on cheap, mop-producing wash mitts that I’m aware of, which astounds me because they can also provide a level of rectal cleanliness Charmin could never achieve.

Egg Flies
If mop flies didn’t exist, egg flies would have taken the number one slot. Most of you dip your eggs in shrimp oil and Velveeta anyway, so you already know their scent potential. There’s not a trout species on the planet—stocked or wild—that doesn’t recognize an egg as food. Likewise, carp slurp them, suckers suck them, and bluegills inhale them. If you can’t tie a yarn egg in less than two minutes, building a fire will be like deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls, which doesn’t bode well for you.

San Juan Worms
This is not a mistake. I did not mean to write “Squirmy Wormies,” OK? I understand that those soft, miracle-rubber boogers have ousted the traditional San Juan as the most popular worm fly. They have better action. They catch more fish. But there are also NASA scientists working around the clock to devise the best method for actually getting the damn Squirmy Worm to stay on the hook. I’ve tried them all and found that no matter how I do it, after a fish or two, the Squirmy is shot. Don’t waste time with lesson plans and super glue, people. You can craft a classic chenille San Juan with one minute and less than 15 wraps of thread. Furthermore, you can play with thickness and length to make Juans that appeal to bass and even catfish.

Parachute Adams
It will be important to maintain morale as you’re figuring out how to survive day to day. The promise of rising fish may take you back to better times. And during those better times, no matter what was hatching, strong chance you could have connected with a Parachute Adams as long as you had a variety of sizes. I mean, that’s kind of how I always roll. I’m not a board certified entomologistician. Hendricksons you say? Adams it is. March Browns? I’ve got just the Adams for that. Blue wing olives? Where the hell are my tiny Adams? If nothing’s rising and you need to go all Euro, use your Rambo knife to trim down the parachute. Now it’s a Hare’s Ear…and a Zug Bug and a Bread Crust and every emerger ever tied.

Clouser Minnows
Breathe easy, meat lovers. I never said you shouldn’t have any streamers. You just need to accept the fact that the Clouser Minnow is going to catch more fish in more situations than those two Manbear Pigs you just spent three hours whipping up. Come to terms with the reality that your Cheech Leech is not going to get smoked by as many smallmouths as a little jiggy Clouser. I know how badly you want to see that largemouth pulverize an 8-inch Game Changer, but you’re trying to feed loved ones, not egos. Tie piles and piles and piles of Clousers in the next two weeks.

Trust me on this, because even though the world isn’t ending, and we’re not going to actually have to survive in the wild, you’ll still thank me later. That six-inch sculpin with the helmet and anatomically correct fins won’t crush as many smallies as you thought, at which point you’ll reach for those Clousers to save your Instagram presence. But you’ll probably still tag #bigmeat.

Featured image by Joe Cermele