Eye Color [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Eye Color

01-06-2006, 12:55 PM
I'd like to hear some opinions on how people have done with different color eyes. I'm not talking about having one blue eye and one brown like my butcher - I'm talking flies
I notice many of the dark colored flies used at night have red eyes, why is that?

Do you notice a difference between

I've always been partial to blue eyed blondes but again we're talking flies here.

Has anyone noticed a preference for eye color in Stripers that are keyed onto a bait? How about light conditions? Those red eyes always freaked me out a little. I can see yellow eyes for an eel fly but as far as I've observed most of the other bait fish are pearl eyed.

01-06-2006, 01:02 PM
Haven't noticed any particular preference. A good experiment would be to fish two flies with different colored eyes and see what flies gets the most fish. On bunker patterns I feel it's most important to use big eyes on the fly. Just my .02 FishHawk

01-06-2006, 01:39 PM

That is a very good question. I will be interested to hear people’s responses. I can't say that I have ever noticed a difference and tend to use eyes that compliment the overall coloration of the fly I am tying but have used the red eyes to contrast at times. I think it will be interesting to see if there is a correlation between the color eyes that work and their corresponding visibility under water. Never read anything concrete but I believe some hypothesize that chartreuse flies work as it is one of the colors that is least dissipated under water. I believe red is one of the first to go which might make those red eyes look more like one giant pupil if fished at any depth.


01-06-2006, 01:54 PM
Being new to both fly fishing and tying, my knowledge base is limited.

I have in my reading, come across references to patterns with red throats and heads, where the red might be useful in imitating a fish that is injured or in distress. Perhaps there is a carry over to the eyes.

It would be useful to get a definitive answer as I am currently tying clousers with both red and chartreuse eyes!


Dble Haul
01-06-2006, 02:09 PM
My own preference, which is only based on experience, is to tie flies with eyes that compliment the overall fly for flats fishing and eyes that contrast with the overall fly colors for more open water and white water situations. I have no trends of success or failure with this scheme, but it just seems to make sense and give me some confidence on the water.

01-06-2006, 02:22 PM
I am kinda picky about this topic for flats flies. Dor certain flies I not only want the right color but a particular brand due to reflective, adhesive and diameter range.

For baitfish flies I prefer a silver-based with black pupil, just because that what the baitfish themselves have.

I think colors in the eyes of saltwater flies do play a role in mid-summer mid-day conditions, however as I always preach not nearly as much as the mood of the fish (based on what's going on at the time) and the presentation. Not too many things can be off when sight fishing during the dog days least of which the scenario you are staking out.

01-06-2006, 04:20 PM
Well Jim....you like blondes with blue eyes, my preference has always been black hair with blue eyes....that's why I married a brunette with brown eyes :D She probably wanted someone who wasn't balding.....but..we are talking fish :)
For sandeels on the flats.....my preference and best success has been olive over white with chartreous eyes....but that might be a confidence thing. On tan over white eel patterns, which I use on sunny days, I use silver/black pupil eyes.
Not sure whether any of that matters, except in the case with shrimp and crab flies....the answer for me there has been prominent/large eyes (black). On those flies, and I've tried a bunch...prominent eyes seem to matter.

01-06-2006, 05:18 PM
Interesting thread. I'm of the opinion that ones needs to analyze the anatomical features of the bait that one is tying. Eyes seem to be a prominent feature that predators key on, e.g. striped bass, that attack their prey from the front. A common bait on the flats is the sand eel. It has a yellow iris and black pupil. Other bait fish, as Juro mentioned. have white iris and black pupils. If you want to tie a fly to imitate a snapper blue for SBFT, it has a yellow iris and black pupil.

I tie my flies accordingly, but does it Matter? I don't know, but I feel more comfortable attempting to emulate the prey of choice. It doesn't stop there however; then it comes to the presentation, and strip/retrieve, which I believe, is more important.

01-06-2006, 07:59 PM
Thats a question flyfisherman have been asking for a long time,some people favor jungle cock and swear nothing works better.We all have our favorites and preference over one style or another.I think alot has to do with what we think looks good over what the fish likes.You can always try what the man from stripermoon states: let the fish decide,fish 2 or 3 flies at a time they will let you know what they like.How many times have you had a fly that caught fish even after the eyes were ripped off?Fly shape,size,color and action are more important than eye color in my opinion.If a bait fish was injuried and lost an eye and a striper attacked from the side without the eye would he suddenly refuse to take it because it had no eye? :hihi:

01-09-2006, 07:26 PM
Thanks for all the replies, there's some good stuff in this thread.