The best sand eel fly is the one that gives you the most confidence. (Like the Bruiser Big Eelie.)

Here’s another sand eel fly pattern that I can’t do without: the Bruiser Big Eelie. Faithful followers know that Ken Abrames’ Big Eelie template is a tried-and-true favorite that lends itself to all kinds of color variations. “Bruiser” because it’s black and blue and purple — and because this fly has accounted for some of my biggest stripers. Perfect for those dark of the moon nights when the bass are looking up and tracking those telltale thin silhouettes across the surface. I’ve been fishing this fly for close to a decade now, and while the Bruiser has appeared elsewhere, I haven’t presented it here until now. Speaking of presentation: swing it, dangle it, dead drift it, and strip it in ultra-short jerky bursts (my favorite).


Hook: 3/0 Eagle Claw 253
Thread: Black 6/0
Platform: 30 hairs blue bucktail
Tail: First, a purple saddle, second, another purple saddle, third, 2 strands blue flash and 2 strands purple flash, fourth, a black saddle, fifth, a black saddle. (All saddles pencil thin and tied in flatwing style.)
Body: Purple braid
Hackle: 3-4 turns purple marabou, tied in at the tip
The Bruiser Big Eelie Rogues’ Gallery:
Block Island, 20+ pounds

9 comments on “The best sand eel fly is the one that gives you the most confidence. (Like the Bruiser Big Eelie.)

  1. Dick Sablitz says:

    Hey Steve….I have the best sand eel filt ever designed….it’s called “Dick’s ltttle white fly”
    I’ll put one in the car….next time we see each other I’ll let you briefly look at it!!!!!🤣🤣

  2. Xabier says:

    Hi Steve, thanks for the patterns and for sharing them. I would want to ask a question that maybe you or someone else here would answer about RLS saddles Do you know if they were Imperial Hackle Co.products? I have finded some old grade one saddles and was curius about…Cheers from the other side of the pool

    • Steve Culton says:

      Hi Xabier, Congratulations on your find! I don’t know who Ken’s original source was. The nice thing about Big Eelies is that there are any number of pencil-thin saddles available that can be used for them.

  3. Asier says:

    Hi Steve, from the other side of the pool, Xabier, the guy who write up, is my Yoda, please be patient 🙂 , I all ready talk to you about him …..

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