Now I start by admitting the flies I tie are not works of art (and I greatly admire those that tie amazing patterns) they are functional and tied to catch fish.
So what do I look for in a good wet fly? A few things come to mind: size, colour and contrast, and movement. So when tying flies I choose materials that provide these fundamentals and are easy to use:
In terms of size I tend to use size 14 -18 hooks (I find smaller flies work well). Hook sizes frustrate the hell out of me, but that's another story! And I try to be sparing with the dressing often using just a few turns of thread and a hackle, as in spider patterns.
Colour and contract are important especially in clear water. I like to tie flies that are not too garish but have a small hot spot or a strand or fritz to make the fly more visible without being ostentatious!
Movement too is key is getting a fish interested and a nice soft hen hackle and sometimes a few tail fibres can achieve this. In deeper water where light diminishes and colours are of secondary importance movement becomes paramount.
The result is a simple pattern but one with plenty of interest to whet a fishes appetite.
So my advice is to keep wets simple but interesting.
I had the good fortune to meet a very charming husband and wife yesterday and shared a few very pleasant hours on the river with them.
As we walked from our cars the conversation turned to casting and the start and finish points of the acceleration stroke. I said I didn't subscribe the the 10 to 2 method they had previously been taught and when we were on the water I went on to explain why.
Now I'm not saying an acceleration stroke that starts and finishes at these points on a clock face won't work, but it won't work all the time! It ignores the fundamental principles that make for an efficient cast. It also ignores weather conditions and the desired outcome from a cast.
I accept instructors will have different styles of teaching but the content of instruction should be correct and based on the fundamental casting principles.