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"Juro's Sand Eel" pattern

2721 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  juro
Sorry Juro, I don't know what else to call it.

This is a pattern you gave me last year at PI. This is the one made of Ultrahair (sparse), Flashabou, and topped with Angel Hair. Sparse white bucktail for a tail and medium dumbell eyes. I saw but did not study some you had on display at the last flyfishing show.

Tossed with a teeney & allowed to sink -- erraticlly but shortly stripped almost to the leader (or until the fly approaches the rim of the underwater rise) where the hits come.

Have you modified this pattern? Any tips to make it more durable? (I'm going through 1-2 per trip)

Great technique around the charter boats at PI, takes fish when other approaches shut down (with the tide).
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The fish I caught last weekend were caught on a fly I tied for coho salmon in Seattle (the squid) many years ago (hence the Puget Sound rust) and the rest on a deep eel I tied last spring with brighter colors than I use in summer. I took the fly off my tippet and handed it to Dave Pearson who was arriving as we were leaving and I am sure he still has it unless he met some bluefish on the flood. I often end up stripping old flies with a razor just to get the hooks back when I run out of a size or style. It's kind of a surprise to hear that any ultrahair fly is not durable...

What exactly is wearing out?
Juro -- The polar Ultrahair on the bottom of the fly is the last thing to wear out because of friction with the sand. The bucktail is almosy always the first to go (though I tried to remedy this by using a very small amount of 70 denier Fish Hair, white). The angel hair goes pretty quick. Those poly/mylar blends have great flash and action but they break easily after a few encounters with raspy striper teeth.

Fouling is another problem. The Ultrahair is pretty stiff and rarely wraps, but the Angel Hair snares the other materials and usually strips out while re-forming the fly after a catch. Also, I am using pearl flash rod-wrapping for the body which tends to shred with sand friction.

The model you gave me (which I used until I lost it to a powerful striper last year) was tied on a Daiichi 3546 or a Mustad 34007...or was it a 34011? I might have shortened it to a standard length because of fouling. Do you tie these with the upper wing Softex-ed to the bend or epoxied to the body to reduce fouling? Have you tried a bend-back hook?

Mind you I am a novice caster with a lot of flippin' and flappin' on the backcast (which I'm working on). I love this fly but I hate wasting such a slow retrieval (which this method entails) on a fly which comes up looking like a sand eel with scoliosis. I am speeding up the destruction process by handling the material so much after each bad cast.

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I got an e-mail from a buddy of mine that this is called a "Deep Sand Eel." I did a search under patterns and found out a bunch of information on it. Thanks for responding. Eric.
re: the question of whether I am modifying - I am constantly modifying every fly pattern I tie. For instance I don't bother to use any bucktail in that particular fly anymore. I save the bucktail for slabsided baitfish flies like the bigeye baitfish and my variations thereof. The angelhair was pretty heavy on those flies because of the dark brown merrimac water. Most often I weave it into the ultrahair, something I used to reserve for summer flats fishing on monomoy with a few strands only but it works to add life to synthetics in bigger quantities as well. I've gotten the fly to the point where it rarely fouls. The key is in how the fly is constructed (e.g.: "layered") and the way the material is tapered when tied in. Perhaps the best thing would be to sit down and tie a few up with you sometime, maybe at a tying clave or show or something.

Another trick I've found useful is the 'jelly belly', which is wrapping the shank in silver lined / clear rubber craft stuff before coating with epoxy. This eliminates the 'throat' yet replaces it with a life-like abdomen.

I am working on a deep eel with no dumbell eyes. The deep eel needs to have the hook ride up. The easy way is to add non-toxic recessed dumbells and eyes. This is where the 'deep' comes from, the Clouser deep minnow, which people call 'clouser' for short. But the clouser is not a sand eel, especially when we are talking about 10" rip eels, hence the 'eel'. Hooks that ride down need to be kept off the bottom therefore half of the presentation options are ruled out.

My suggestion is to work on building the synthetics with a stout elongated and tapered profile, and use the other materials for highlights. I've been working this pattern for a while and have gotten to the point where they are durable and foul very rarely.

Your results may vary! Good luck, and look forward to hooking up with you on a early low, maybe this week.
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