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The Fisherman

Small, Simple (and very effective) Sand Eels

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I love fishing the sand eel hatch, especially when the bait is small and the stripers are either holding on station or cruising a flat looking for snacks.


These are two incredibly basic patterns I use for such situations. You don't need any fancy or expensive materials to tie them. I love simple flies that simply work, and I remember the night I bumped into a local on one of the islands who was pulling in fish after fish on his homebrew sand eel fly: a piece of white nylon hardware store twine tied to a hook. No eyes. No flash. Very cool idea.


But, to the flies.


First up is the Golden Knight. I like this on an Atlantic Salmon hook for a longer body. This tie is two and a half inches long. I tie this down to an inch long (that small I go with a standard stout hook, and may use as little as ten total bucktail hairs), and it works like the dickens. The JC is a nice touch, but I most often fish this fly without any eyes. The stripers seem to like it. You can tie this fly in any number of color variations.


The Golden Knight




Hook: Atlantic Salmon 6-8-10

Thread: Black

Body: Gold braid

Wing: 10 fine hairs white, 10 fine hairs yellow, 10 fine hairs orange (all taken from the tip) bucktail, mixed, under two strands blue flash, under 3-4 stands black Krystal Flash. All flash is longer than the bucktail.

Eyes: Jungle Cock (optional)


Up next is a variant of Ken Abrames' Eelie. This is also about two and a half inches long, and again, you can tie it in whatever color combos suit you. I never put eyes on this fly, but you can if you want. It's a real crowd pleaser. These saddles are a little twisted as this is a game used fly, ;-)


Eelie Variant




Hook: Mustad 3407 2-8

Thread: White

Tail: 30 hairs white bucktail under one white saddle tip under one yellow saddle tip under one chartreuse saddle tip under two strands flash. All saddles tied in flat.

Body: Pearl braid


I like to fish these flies with a floating line on a dead drift in a brace of three or more, with a floating fly like a gurgler on point and a corkie at the head of the leader. These two points suspend the flies right near the surface. The takes are amazing; if you're in close contact with your flies, you can actually feel the striper inhale the fly as he feeds with confidence. Set the hook and the water explodes.


Enjoy! :-)

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Thank you, and you're very welcome. :-)


As a still photo, I like the Golden Knight the best, too. The Eelie is one of those flies that is so basic and so unimpressive-looking (I'll bet if I put a stack of them in a fly shop bin, they wouldn't sell very well) that you're almost surprised when you start bailing stripers on it. But I have had that happen many times. Plus, you can tie a bajillion of them in an hour.

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