Night Time Profile Flies [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Night Time Profile Flies

08-20-2006, 03:00 PM
Flies are tied with rhea @ collar, Saddles and Bucktail.....

I find black/purple to be good night colors

As I fish mostly @ night July-November I dont mind putting in extra time @ the vise for night time patterns (opossed to all black) (stripers appear to have excellent vision @ night)


08-20-2006, 03:02 PM
Ill try again

08-20-2006, 04:08 PM
During last night's silverside blitz I noticed a few things...

Despite the light being nearly gone their chrome band, silver lined abdominal cavity and the eye were still brightly visible to the human eye against dark backgrounds. More so to fish I am sure. These minnows are dramatically more active at night (obviously) so the brightness may have something to do with the way they interact. Have to look into that. Grunions, anchovies, smelt, also possess these features.

Anyway when held against light the silver becomes black and the body becomes semi-transparent... except for the eye, abdominal cavity and silver band. The Chatham light created an interesting dual mode of observation for me.

In comparison the only thing I could see about my own fly was profile and motion but they seemed to have a little trouble finding it as it was only my standard 6" daytime fly. I got many of my hits when I was rolling the line back out to cast out again, fish would blast from the water a few feet in front of my as the fly streaked across the surface during the switch (roll) cast. And this is in fairly rough surf to boot!

I concluded that the profile is ever important at night, as is motion and there are visual features that appear with any degree of ambient light and even more so to fish.

I think you're right that our coastal gamefish do indeed have excellent night vision but also key in on other senses to find prey in darkness - like the pulse created by objects pushing water. I am certain they hear lady crabs grinding into the sand and sand eels digging out from a shoal on a fresh tide.

08-20-2006, 04:33 PM
Matching the hatch in the daytime is just as important as night imho. I would agree profile is impotant as long as it matches the bait at hand. I spend probably 95% of my time fishing at night and have not figured out why black seems to be the first thing people say you need to have at night.

When fish are on silversides I fish the same patterns I would fish at night in the same olive, yellow, white and silver colors I would fish at day. At night mathing length and action is very important. Silversides do not dip and dive much so anything with lead eyes usually gets ignored. Match what the bait looks like at day and it is going to attract the same characteristics as the natural would at night.


08-20-2006, 05:04 PM
This thinking probably comes from guys fishing plugs and poppers for decades before the notion of flyfishing at night was ever popularized (Stan Gibbs black swimmer, needlefish, etc) To visually contrast against any light background dark colors which are opaque are very effective and black happens to be the darkest color.

It's certainly no silver bullet and like anything in fishing there may be a degree of generalization there but I think black has it's niche in the night fishing arsenal. I sure works at night and it's easy for the angler to see.

One case where using daytime colors fails for night use is when contrast against white sands on or near the bottom is desired. Opacity alone will not work to increase visibility because of reflective light from above and below. In other words the same fly I use on the flats is virtually invisible over a sand bottom in fact I strive for high transparency under noon skies.

I think it's unwise to over-generalize either way; I think both are true.


08-21-2006, 09:10 PM
From an old plugger buddy from the Outer Beaches with an opinion on color..

Full Moon plus or minus 3 nights..match the hatch..scoop up some sand eels..if some pink use a trout rebel, some blue use a blue back rebel, some green use a green back..and don't cast until a cloud passes to darken the light. Can be applied to flies.

If you are stuck with bright conditions at night..scrape that rebel down and turn it into a bone color and move it really slow.

Remember that with many 40# fish set on the slightest and lightest "tick"..ultra sharp hooks

Some nights are single droper nights and some are double dropper nights..experiment...most times they will take the plug lead by the droppers..

Dark nights ..dark colors...unless they don't work:biggrin: