Bait and Flies Article: [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Bait and Flies Article:

08-01-2002, 04:43 AM
Bait and flies:

Shape, Size, Silhouette, Action, Density, Color are all important features we try to incorporate into the flies we use to imitate the naturals.

There are 3 basic profiles of baitfish:

Thin-Thick as a pencil or thinner. Here on Cape Cod, this is the dominant profile used to imitate Sand Lances (Micro eels), Spearing, Silver Sides.

Medium-2, 3 pencils in thickness. Used to imitate baby bunker and herring.

Wide-3-5 inches tall. Adult Herring, Bunker. These larger profiles are used when the Herring are spawning. When Sea gulls are diving (normally). We like to use them at night as they push more water and make it easier for predators to pick them up with their lateral lines. Larger profiles are used a lot when working around rocky shores, Islands.

Specialty Flies: These are exact imitations consisting of Squid, Crab, and Shrimp.

Surface Poppers, Gurglers and Sliders:
Surface flies are used to create some sort of commotion to get the fishes attention. By either splashes, surface wake or a combination of both. Sometimes big splashes are needed while other times a slow retrieve with very little commotion created is the key. Normally I only use these when I have surface feeding fish or at slack tide. During slack tide many fish are resting, so a little noise may pull them in from far away. Also at slack, there is no current to fight or bait being pushed in the water column for them to eat, so rising to the surface to inspect a possible next meal is often a reality.

There are many things we can do to impart additional action to our flies.
The materials we use can often enhance the fly’s movement when retrieved (or not) which gives the fly a life like appearance.

Flash- Ever notice when a school of bait turns suddenly or the sun is reflected off the sides of them that there is a flash. This is imitated by using a material similar to x-mas tinsel. As the sun hits it and the current combined with you stripping your fly, gives your fly a reflective quality similar to the real thing.

Feathers- With different sized feathers we can make different sized flies. Whether we want to imitate the profile from below with feathers tied in flat or from the side with feathers tied in traditionally. (On either side of the hook)

Holographic eyes- Again, just like a flashy material tied in to reflect light and give our fly a life like appearance, we also use reflective eyes to achieve the same thing. Some people have said that the eye is a very important aspect of a fly. Sometimes a fish looking at your fly broad side will key in on the eye. Sometimes this can be an important feature.

Weight- By adding weighted cones, barbell eyes or lead to our flies, combined with a jerky, strip-pause retrieve we achieve a jigging motion. Creating what looks to the fish as a wounded, escaping or erratic behaving baitfish as it tries to escape. This helps imitate many of the naturals darting motion.

Current- Combining all of the above with current adds an incredibly life like appearance to your flies and is often the easiest way to catch them. Search out current and the fish will be there.

Retrieval tactics used to help impart action: Sometimes no retrieve at all is what is needed to imitate bait fish being swept along in the current. Just by letting your line bow and swing the fly at an oncoming fish is the best way to fish your fly. Other times by giving you fly a strip, pause in different lengths is a hot retrieve. When using a crab I like to use 2 – 2 ½ inch twitches to get the fish’s attention. If the fish is 26 inches or smaller I can continually twitch the crab and fool them. If the fish is 28 inch’s or bigger, then not moving it at all is the answer.

Does the fly float, sink slowly or drop like a rock. If the fish are on the surface than a fly that floats or sinks very slow is a producer. If the fish are deep then a sinking fly can help achieve depth.
Many times we use our fly lines to put our fly in the correct water column that the fish are feeding in. Or we use the count down method.

Color is the least important feature of our flies. But when dealing with large educated resident Bass on the flats its imperative to match the hatch exactly. Striped Bass have cones and rods in their eyes similar to ours, so they can see black and white at night and color during the day.

In the spring time brighter colors (white, chartreuse) with gold flash work great as these fish are on fire. Brighter colors stand out more making it easier for them to locate their next meal. We put reflective strands of material into our flies to imitate the reflection of light off the side of the baitfish.

In July and August I find it imperative to use exact coloration of our flies to match the natural. Little to no flash is used. Exact shape, size, silhouettes are a key ingredient during this challenging time of the year.

May all your doorknobs smell of grossly over sized fish,

Randy Jones - fishing reports

08-01-2002, 05:17 AM
Great article. Thanks Randy for your insite. FishHawk

08-01-2002, 02:50 PM
Randy, very informiative, thanks again, GREAT looking fish, keep up the good work, "GOOD LUCK GOOD FISHIN":smokin: