When is a Fly not a Fly?

I was a little frustrated last night because I couldn’t think of a topic to write about for my blog today. This morning, still nothing. I received a package from regular contributor, Al Quattrocchi. I opened it up and found a couple versions of a fly that will run in the Jan/Feb 2012 as the feature fly. I don’t want to give away too much because I’m particularly excited about running this one. It’s a very interesting popper. As I examined this popper, it reminded me of an argument I got into with someone years ago. I was being accused of not being pure because I was using a foam popper. It was his opinion that using certain synthetic materials was a no-no if you wanted be considered a real fly fisherman. While I think his mindset was pretty extreme, I definitely think there’s a point where you are tying an “artificial lure” and not a fly. But my question is, how far is too far?

To be honest, I’m not real sure where I stand on this topic. For example, spoon flies work great but I know many fly anglers are against using them. What if I want to use one? Should I feel guilty every time I tie one on? Do others in the boat have a right to ridicule me? It’s funny because to non-fisherman, this question would seem extremely trivial but I realize it’s a very sensitive subject for us fly guys. So, what do you all think? When is a fly not a fly anymore? What should I do if redfish are crushing tiny spoon flies and nothing else? Look forward to hearing your thoughts!