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What Fly Pattern do you use?

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I have been away from fly fishing scene for several years and finally getting back to it. During the early season, what fly pattern do you usually use for the surf? How fast do you usually retrieve it?

 

-Scout

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It depends. Where are you fishing, what is the bait? What is the bait doing? Is it swimming around? Is it getting thrown about in the wash? I have an idea. Take some flies and your rod and go to the beach and observe. Clousers and decievers are never a bad choice.

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Well, since you asked, I pretty much use just one pattern any more for all of my saltwater fishing and most of my freshwater fishing (unless trout fishing with an obvious hatch going on): a simple pink/white clouser, aka The Pink Wonder. Here's a list of the species I've taken on it so far. What the table doesn't show is how much better it works, generally, than whatever my fishing partners happen to be using. It's a real killer on smallies.

 

[img=

 

There's one in the picture below, along with a non-clouser version that I used a lot before I discovered that the clouser style works better. At the bottom is my 2nd most favorite saltwater fly, a variation on Tony Petrella's Commissioner. This is a stacked wing of gold/copper/gold Krystal Flash, and works almost as well as the Pink Wonder and is much more durable, although it's useless in fresh water.

 

http://www.stripersonline.com/content/type/61/id/1560140/]

 

A very sharp, attention-grabbing, herky-jerky retrieve works best. Doesn't have to be real fast, but it does have to be as sharp as you can make it--like a spooked baitfish or shrimp, etc. Of course, sometimes just letting it wallow around in the current works too, particularly when you're undoing a tangle, daydreaming, or otherwise not paying attention.

 

Steve

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Steve, is the Comissioner tied with a Eagle Claw jig hook? I'm interested why you don't tie the clousers with jig hooks as well, my experience is they seem to ride better than the standard 34007 or similar standard hook.

 


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When I look at the dizzying array of fly patterns I firmly believe that it really becomes a case of fly tying for fly tyings sake and less about practical use. You can pick a single pattern and by varying things like the fullness of the fly, the size, and colors for example, come up with a nearly infinite combination of "different" flies. Keeping it simple has always worked for me for both fresh and salt water. I prefer general attractor type patterns that don't really look like anything specific but kind of look like a lot of things a fish might be interested in.

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I've got to agree with Bob. There are certain patterns that will work better than others, but it's completely dependent on conditions and bait.



 



Stirred up, low visibility water - flies that push a lot of water. These will make noise and attract fish. In these conditions, if the bass can find your fly, he'll probably eat it.



Deceivers, seaducers, snake flies (if you have that kind of time at the desk)



 



Flats fishing - smaller is usally better than larger, as the prevalent bait is smaller.



Smaller clousers, jiggies, speed phlounder/skok's blind crab.



 



Herring run - you can guess what will work here. Big, bulky herring flies.



Mega Mushy, hollow fleye technique, etc.



 



In the wash, when no bigger bait is obvious - slender, sandeel/silverside patterns.



Clousers, skinny deceivers, etc.



 



It's far more about reading water and matching the hatch than having every fly available. I used to tie flies specific to patterns, but many patterns are styles of tying and have very little to do with the color, etc, used. Steve just said he fishes mainly pink clousers, I don't think I have ever fished a pink clouser. His confidence in that pattern would likely mean that he would catch more fish than I if we were standing next to each other. It's subconscious, for sure, but you are definitely more connected to your fly when you have confidence in it.



 



I think time is far better used learning how to read water and locate feeding fish than sitting at the tying desk.


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Steve, is the Comissioner tied with a Eagle Claw jig hook? I'm interested why you don't tie the clousers with jig hooks as well, my experience is they seem to ride better than the standard 34007 or similar standard hook.

 

 

 

It makes sense that the jig hook would ride better but it really doesn't matter. I've caught tons of fish on both style hooks. It just happened that I was going thru a phase of experimenting with the EC jig hooks when I took that picture. Under Dan Blanton influence.

 

I've since gone back to my favorite, Gama SL11-3H, because I'm too lazy to sharpen hooks, and they're so darn strong that they don't get bent up when releasing fish like the ECs often did.

 

I'll never forget the time I was standing up in the boat with a perfect view into the clear water when all of a sudden a 6 ft spinner shark came out of nowhere and scooped my #2 Commissioner off the bottom, where it was resting. Pretty exciting for a while!

 

There's a very similar all-gold Krystal Flash fly pictured in Lefty's saltwater patterns book. I was extremely dubious about the pattern. Tony described it n a thread of favorite patterns he tried to start on the old FF board many years ago, when I was a beginner. He went first, but, alas, the thread died. There was no picture, and I later saw some of his in a FL fly shop. He used clear thread rather than red like I do, and a much heavier body compared to the gold braid wrap I use. My theory has been that it's sort of crustaceonish. Nowadays I mostly use it when I'm into a bunch of toothy fish that are chewing up my precious Pink Wonders too fast.

 

I haven't yet tried it in the northeast, but it works great up and down the Gulf coast.

 

Steve

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How fast do you usually retrieve it?

 

 

Sometimes not at all. Try a classic wet fly or greased line swing. Then let your fly of choice just sit there in the current.

 

Steve Culton

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It depends. Where are you fishing, what is the bait? What is the bait doing? Is it swimming around? Is it getting thrown about in the wash? I have an idea. Take some flies and your rod and go to the beach and observe. Clousers and decievers are never a bad choice.

 

He asked what you do, not what he should do. It's a personal survey.

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I use a small white clouser or something like, retrieve it slow-like, unless bigger fish are in evidence, and bigger bait, then use some kind of long hackled thing, flatwing or big bucktail.

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