This is my third (I think) year participating in On The Water magazine‘s “Guide Flies” column, written by Tony Lolli. You’re familiar with he concept of a guide fly — a pattern that is typically simple to tie and can be relied upon to produce day in and day out. (Or night after night, as it were.) The Big Eelie delivers the goods. Developed by Ken Abrames, this pattern imitates larger sand eels. Part flatwing, part soft hackle, the Big Eelie is understated elegance at its finest. I think what I like most about the Big Eelie is that its template — four pencil-thin saddles and a marabou collar — lends itself to as many color combination as your inner artist can conjure up. My Rat a Tat Big Eelie, based on Ken’s larger flatwing, is just one example. Have at it and hold on tight!
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).
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.