MIdsummer’s Fly tying

  • by
olive & white clouser flies next to red tomatoes

It hap­pens every year, the Mid­sum­mer’s Fly Tying after­noon. It’s usu­al­ly a hot after­noon, the recre­ation­al boat­ing fleet is find­ing its way out in the har­bor and bay, and I sit at my table tying some flies to re-load my fly box for the upcom­ing charters. 

Saltwater fly tying table and tying vise.

There are a lot of the­o­ries when it comes to flies. A client recent­ly told me that every­body’s pre­ferred fly is the fly that catch­es the most fish. Of course the one that catch­es the most fish is going to be the one that is most often tied onto the end of your line. There’s some log­ic to that reasoning.

I rarely change my fly. That’s not one hun­dred per­cent true, some­times I tie on a gur­gler or oth­er sur­face fly sim­ply because there is noth­ing more fun that watch­ing a sur­face strike, even by a small striper. Nev­er­the­less, my go-to fly is the infa­mous clouser fly (invent­ed by Bob Clouser).

This sea­son start­ed out with the usu­al quiver of char­treuse and white clousers. How­ev­er, ear­ly in the sea­son I switched back to my old favorite olive and white clouser. Why did I do this? I’m not sure. After all, it is my belief that it’s not so much the col­or of the fly that mat­ters, but rather the move­ment of the fly.

I like the clouser fly because its weight­ed eyes cause it to dive when you pause your strip. On the strip, the fly darts for­ward as though escap­ing the jaws of the striper. This action resem­bles that of the sand lance (or sand eel) that is one of the most com­mon food sources for the striped bass.

MIdsummer’s Fly tying

I can­not tell you how many times stripers eat on the pause (or the dive) of the clouser fly. As a fish­ing guide, I have a ten­den­cy to demon­strate a cast, or a strip, from the bow of the boat. Often, in mid demon­stra­tion I allow the line to go limp (as I describe one thing or anoth­er) and the clouser to dive. Often, when I begin the strip again…


…and BOOM!, a fish will strike and/or hook itself to the fly. Like­wise, when fish­ing on the flats, a cou­ple of quick strips after the fly hits the water, a pause, a cou­ple of twitch­es, then a slow strip is often quite irre­sistable to striped bass (and to bonefish).

Feed­ing fish is tru­ly the busi­ness of catch­ing. Espe­cial­ly on the flats, and even when the fish are schooled up chas­ing bait. Fish know their prey, your job as the fish­er­man is to make your fly resem­ble that prey. Doing so will def­i­nite­ly land you more fish!

Good luck!!!!!