Paul’s Striper Fly Selection

Paul was the lucky winner of the Currentseams 200th Follower Contest. He had his choice of striper, trout, or steelhead flies, and Paul went with the striped bass fly selection. He also mentioned that he was a big fan of the spring cinder worm hatch, so I tied up a bunch of Orange Ruthlesses, my favorite clam worm fly. I also included some sand eel patterns, some soft-hackle/flatwing baitfish, and a classic sparse bucktail.

Starting clockwise from bottom center: the Orange Ruthless, a single-feather flatwing; a Big Eelie in the Bruiser color template; the Golden Knight, a matchstick sand eel bucktail; a juvenile herring bucktail, unnamed, tied so sparse you can read a newspaper through it; a soft hackle/flatwing hybrid in Ray’s Fly colors (a good fly on a bright day); and a soft-hackle/flatwing hybrid in Easterly colors (tailor-made for a gray-green rainy blow).

Paul's Flies

Thanks to Paul for allowing me to take my time with these.

We’ll have another fly giveaway when we reach 300 followers. Thanks to everyone for your support, readership, and kind words.

Big Eelie Variant: The L&L

While I am loathe to use the phrase “go-to-pattern,” I beg to report that whenever there are large sand eels around, Ken Abrames’ Big Eelie is my go-to pattern.

The Big Eelie differs from 95% of other sand eel flies in that it is not an attempt to carbon copy the bait. Those legions of epoxy- and tube-bodied flies with eyes certainly work, but you can get away quite nicely with something far more impressionistic (if that’s your fancy) like the Big Eelie or Ray Bondorew’s Marabou Sand Eel.

The classic Big Eelie is a four-feather flatwing/soft-hackle hybrid; it’s colors are white, yellow, olive, and blue. I’ve discovered over the years that the Big Eelie works in all kinds of color schemes. One of my favorites is taken from Ken’s three-feather flatwing, the L&L Special. This tart mix of yellow, fluorescent yellow, white, and chartreuse shines on sand flats, day or night.

The L&L Big Eelie


Hook: Eagle Claw 253 3/0
Thread: Chartreuse 6/0
Platform: 30 hairs fluorescent yellow bucktail
Tail: A white saddle, under one strand each of gold and silver flash, under two chartreuse saddles, under two strands purple flash, under a yellow saddle.
Body: Pearl braid
Collar: 2-3 turns chartreuse marabou, tied in by the tip.

Tying notes: Sand eels are a slender bait, so make your saddles about the width of a pencil. You don’t want a flaring broom shape for the platform, so likewise make it slim, and take the bucktail from near the tip of the tail. All the saddles are tied in flat. The marabou adds the magic here, as it veils the body when wet, creating movement and an almost glowing effect. Feel free to play around with different colors on this pattern; some of my favorites are blue/black/purple and white/pink/olive. Stripers love them all. I like to tie this fly about 4  1/2 inches long.