Tying a Sand Eel Fly

Sand eels are a wonderful forage fish that supplies great opportunities for the nearshore fly angler. These long thin critters are found over a large extent of the Atlantic coast, ranging from the far north down to the Carolinas. In addition they are easy to match with a fly and have a regular diurnal cycle that assists anglers in predicting the bite.

Sand eels

Typically they vary in size from young-of-the-year sand eels of about 1.5 inches, to large adults of 4 inches and beyond. Coloration is usually black over silver in dark water locations (particularly those with a mud bottom) to green over silver on many clear sandy beaches. That said I have seen pinkish/ tan over silver on rare occasion on Cape Cod.

Sand eel Flies

Sand eel flies can be very simple. Above you see two that I tied. Both are actually the same construction; one weighted with lead eyes, the other with bead-chain. Lets take a look at how the top fly was made.

Step One

This is a size 2 34007 Mustad, but other similar hooks work just fine. The Gamakatsu SL 11-3H is a very good example. I wrapped the the shank with white Danville Flat wax nylon and tied in 1/8″ black bean-chain eyes. Step 2 involves bringing the thread to the rear of the bend. Then tying in a piece of copper wire. (either copper colored wire or in this case sea-foam green.) Then tie in a piece of Bill’s Bodi Braid. Four inches will do.

Step 2

Now you’re ready for the bottom wing. You can use either white bucktail or in my case white Steve Farrar Blend. Tie the wing down immediately behind the bead- chain eye.

Step 3

Step four involves placing a green wing on top of the white. Here again bucktail works, but I’m using mackerel color Steve Farrar Blend. Tie this wing down immediately in front of the bead-chain eye. Pull the two wings tight together and over swap both with the copper wire in open loops.

To finish the fly I use a coat of clear UV acrylic. And often apply an overcoat of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails . Below is the same fly tied with a gold bead-chain eye. Yes the tail is wet this time.

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Dave Keeps Getting those Reds!

Just got another positive report from my friend Dave down in Charlotte Harbor. He had a fine day on the flats flinging flies at redfish. Check out the one below. How nice is that?

Dave with a nice one

While that red may not seem impressive by Louisiana standards, that’s a sweet Florida chunk. And to put things in focus, Southwest Florida reds are every bit as difficult to catch as bonefish. Not at all like those dumb-a-doornail reds over Mississippi way. In Charlotte Harbor you have to sneak in like an indian scout and delivery the fly like a paid assassin. These reds are super wary and always ready to flee at the least hint of trouble. A tip of the hat to Dave!

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Connecticut Fly Fisherman’s Association Expo 2020

The 2020 Connecticut Fly Fisherman’s Association Expo was a huge success. Roughly 30 vendors, a dozen fly tyers and programs attracted about 400 people yesterday. The aisles were packed with anglers. I venture to say this is the best club run event in New England.

The range of vendors was impressive. From great fly tying materials, to fine rod and reels, to fine art and beyond, it was all available. And the variety of fly tyers was a big bonus as well. Fresh or salt it didn’t matter where your interest was. You could learn a new trick or two.

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The Marlborough Fly Fishing Show 2020

Just got back from the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show. It was fun. Yes, the large fly fishing shows are not as strong as they were many years ago, but they still supply a great time with plenty to see and learn about. Well worth a visit.

The large theaters in the hotel had an excellent list of lectures, covering a wide range of subjects. And long with those shows, the Destination Theaters offered up valuable information about fishing specific locations across the United States and beyond. All in all a good time. And of course casting demonstrations were part of the show too.

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Dave is finding Bigger Reds Again

Dave is finding bigger reds on the flats again. That’s very good news and points to the possibility of some recovery, some improvement in water quality.

The coast of Southwest Florida has seen some troubling signs in the last couple of years. I’m sure you saw it on the nightly news. Red tide and blue-green algae arrived, killing a large amount of marine life. Both are signs of coastal eutrophication, increasing harmful runoff from the land. And both issue will require strong action on the part of local governments to insure clean water. Keep your fingers crossed.

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