Tying a Bay Anchovy

Well, we have been doing a bunch of tying, so let’s do another one. This time we’ll make a bay anchovy fly. This fly becomes valuable in the fall when the bay anchovies exit the estuaries and salt ponds along the Northeast coast. Bonito, false albacore and striped bass love to feast on these tiny tots. It is quite a bite that can go on for weeks. It starts right along the beaches and slowly moves offshore. Typically this bite begins around the time of the first frost, which in my part of the world is the first week of October. ( Here’s a feature article on this topic I did for Saltwater Fly Fishing, in 1996. )

We’re going to use the same simple tying tactics you have seen before. Nothing crazy here. The only difference with be a slight change in materials, new colors, and a smaller size. Okay ready to go?


Here’s the materials I’m using. Please feel free to make substitutions as needed. Mustad 34007 size 2#, Bill’s Body Braid of course, medium black bead chain eyes. camel color Steve Farrar’s Blend, and sand color Pseudo Hair. Oh, I been using white flat wax nylon thread throughout.

Place the hook in the vise and cover the shank with thread. Tied in your black bead chain eye. Drop of super glue. Wind back to the bend and tie in a 5 inch piece of Bill’s Body Braid. This material does a great job of imitating the silver gut of a forage fish. Now cut some Pseudo Hair. We want the total fly length to be 1.5″ or even less. So keep that in mind. (You can always do some trimming later)  Lash forward securing the Pseudo Hair behind the bead chain eye and then wind the Braid over it and tie down.

At this point I’ll coat the Braid with clear UV Acrylic’, but that is optional. Next tie in a wing of  Steve Farrar Blend. Why this camel color?Are we trying to attract dromedary? Na.  One of the key elements of a good bay anchovy fly is the color orange or copper. (see pix at the top of the page) This camel color Blend has both, plus some flash built in. It matches the bait well.

Okay things get a bit more messy now. Grab the Blend at the far end and pull it tight down over the body of the fly. Slowly coat the blend with clear UV acrylic. Hit with your UV light. The Farrar Blend often has stray hairs that will stick up. Don’t get too fussy just trim where needed. Use more acrylic along the wing and the body to secure the wind down. And I like a drop of acrylic on the start of the tail to prevent fouling. Hit it again with your UV light. When the acrylic is dry, you can use some Sally Hansen to make the fly look more uniform. Still expect a few bumps here and there. Now trim the fly to length. 

Final thought. If you live farther south, say down in New Jersey, you’ll see the striped anchovy instead. It is a bit bigger and has a pronounced silver band down the lateral line,  much like a silverside. Adjust your fly to match. Best of luck on the water!  Please see updated pattern!



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2 Responses to Tying a Bay Anchovy

  1. ted Rzepski says:

    Like this pattern
    Please repost the Anchovie article you wrote in the 90s.

    • Ed Mitchell says:

      Okay Ted, I’ll dig it up for you.
      Right now my hard drive is on its last legs. Limping from day to day. So there may be a delay. Ordering a new one pronto.

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