Small Flies for Stripers? Here in the Northeast, striped bass anglers most often reach for a 1/0 Deceiver. And why not? Tied about 4″ long, it imitates a wide variety of forage fish. And in the previous post you found me tying just that, and a few much larger ones – in total, flies from 3″ to 7″ long. Good stuff. Gotta have it.
Now we all know that flies longer than 7″ work, but do flies smaller than size 1# deserve a spot in your fly box too? Well last summer we had a oodles of tiny bait in Long Island Sound, more than I had ever seen. Likely caused by high water temperatures. And standard size flies worked poorly. At one of the shows I ran into an old friend Mark Lewchik. Mark told me he had some success using size 4# flies. Whoa! Really? So I’m tying a few up for this summer. Worth a shot.
For the above fly I used a fair stout hook, a size 4# Mustad C70SD Big Game hook. And it is tied in the same way I made sand eel flies a few posts back. But this is far from the smallest fly I ever chucked at striped bass. The smallest would be a 8# beadhead stonefly. Yes sir, a freshwater stonefly pattern. I put it under a strike indicator and drifted it in the current coming out of a cove off the Connecticut River. Bingo nymphing for bass. Surprised? Well, these were 16″ schoolies. But consider this: in their first couple years of life, all striped bass up inside Chesapeake Bay eat aquatic macro-invertebrates such as caddis and mayflies. And so they have that hardwired in, especially bass under 24″.