Saltwater fly patterns

There is still time to enjoy a few casts in the sea before the winter gales arrive in earnest, so here are some of my favourite fly patterns for chucking into the briney. I don’t tend to go in for very complex patterns and even my range of colours is limited, but all the flies here will catch you Mackerel, Pollock and Saithe. Let’s start with the good old Clouser minnow.

This example is tied with white Bucktail, a couple of strands of flash and bead chain eyes. I also like Black, green and pink versions too. Bucktail is hard wearing and moves well in the water.

Next we have a Black Worm pattern:

I tied this up years ago to imitate a swimming Ragworm. The tail is made of Black or dark brown marabou and the body is of black fritz. A heavy gold cone head adds weight and makes the work move enticingly on a jerky retrieve. As there are very, very few ragworm on the west coast of Ireland this fly should not work – but it does and can be very good for Pollack early in the season.

A basic sandeel pattern now, one which won’t tax your tying skills to any great extent. Whip a slim bunch of fl. green hair and a couple of strands of your favourite flash to the top of a smallish hook and there you are! It works a treat when stripped back quickly.

Lefty’s Deceiver is a great fly and I always have a few in my box. Apart from my white/black/pink/green ones I also use this version. Tail is made of white cock hackles, back to back with some added flash, a tinsel body of either silver or gold and an under wing tied below the hook of white Bucktail. The top wing is yellow/orange/black Bucktail. Add eyes if you like.

Rogan’s Gadget is an unusual looking beastie but the sea trout love this fly. I make the body from flat braid to give it a little more shape than flat tinsel. Mallard flank (either natural or dyed) is tied in at the tail then pulled over the back and tied down. The head can be formed from either bronze Peacock herl or dubbed Glister (the later takes more punishment from the fishes teeth).

Sometimes the fish can be a bit picky and a more accurate imitation of baitfish is required. Something like this which is made from different colours of hair with dyed mallard flank cheeks a glued on eyes can sometimes save the day for you.

Here is an all-black Deceiver with JC eyes. One to use in the dark or in very coloured water.

And finally, the old reliable flash-on-a-hook. Look, there are days when the fish are shoaling and willing to grab anything which is pulled in front of them. There is no point in using complex patterns under these circumstances so have some simple flashy lures on hand for those red-letter days. Silver, Pearl or Blue all seem to work equally well.


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