The Crazy Menhaden Big Eelie Variant

It happens, if you’re lucky, once a season. It does not define you as angler. It makes no promise of future success. Like all glory, it is fleeting. But oh, does it make you feel like the king of the world. It is the moment after a wildly successful session when someone breathlessly approaches you with the words, “Excuse me, I’ve got to ask. What fly were you using?”

The first time I fished the Crazy Menhaden Big Eelie was a humid, overcast June night on Block Island. A substantial school of bass in the ten-to-fifteen pound range was feeding on sand eels near the surface. They had the bait pinned in a three-foot deep trough between the beach and a sand bar that dropped off into deeper water. For the better part of three hours, I took bass after well-fed, rotund bass. They relished the fly, even after it was reduced to two saddles and some frayed bucktail. As I began the walk to my Jeep, the angler to my right hurriedly reeled in his line and chased me down the beach, eager to pop the question.

Image

As its name suggests, this fly takes the color scheme of Ken Abrames’ Crazy Menhaden and applies it to the template of the Big Eelie. Together, they create an insanely potent brew of form and function.

Hook: Eagle Claw 253 3/0
Thread: Tan
Platform: Orange and yellow bucktail, 30 total hairs, mixed
Tail: (All saddles pencil thin) Pink saddle, under two strands each of red and copper flash, under yellow saddle, under chartreuse saddle, under blue saddle
Body: Gold braid
Collar: 2-3 turns ginger marabou, tied in by the tip

Tying notes: As with all Big Eelies, make the saddles thin. Tie them in flat. I like this fly about four and one-half inches long. Treat the marabou as a veil, not an opaque blob.

Crazy Menhaden Big Eelie Rogues’ Gallery:

(Please forgive the fish-unfriendly photo. This was the only striper I beached to shoot. I lipped the rest).

SatBIBass

3 comments on “The Crazy Menhaden Big Eelie Variant

  1. Dave Studeman says:

    Beautiful Fly!! Love those flatwings!! It’s been a while since I had a night like the one you describe…tying lots of flatwings so maybe this year.

    Dave Studeman

    925.899.1473 Cell

  2. Salmon Patties says:

    A superior sand eel fly and loads of fun to tie! Beats the heck out of messin’ with goop.

    • Steve Culton says:

      I still haven’t ever tied an epoxy sand eel fly. The Big Eelie is a huge confidence pattern for me, and I’ve taken many of my biggest stripers on this fly. I love playing around with different color combinations.

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