Baitfish Patterns

Steve Gibson’s DT Special Snook Fly

I think it was about 1992-93. I received the original DT Special (I might add well used) from Capt. Matt Hoover of Naples. We had been talking about fly fishing for snook in the surf and he told me the DT would be the only fly I’d ever need. He was right.  I actually “redesigned” the pattern. My fly-tying mentor, the late George Rose, always told me that there are no new flies. “They’re variations on a similar theme,” he’d say. I think he was right. Even though the surf is fairly shallow where I fish (Sarasota to Boca Grande), I believe a fly must get down quickly to the eye level of the snook. So, with that in mind, I decided to tie four neck hackles facing, rather than splaying them as per the original. The fly gets down just a little quicker. I also built up the head of the fly and added 3D Prism Eyes. I’m a big believer in eyes on a fly.

This is the sixth installment of  Snook Flies. To read the rest of the interview, and for the complete step-by-step instructions for tying this snook fly and 7 more,  download your copy of Snook Flies at www.saltyflytying.com. Read More

Nick Davis’s Lightsaber Pilchard Snook Fly

After flipping through the bin at the fly shop and scrolling through Instagram I got the idea to use flash and tie it much like an EP minnow. It was only by mistake I developed my favorite beach snook pattern. While it is my favorite beach pattern, I often pull it from the box when the water is super muddy and visibility is low. After a little R&D I got the idea to use glow Flashabou for some gills and the rest they say is history. I think this pattern is ultra effective due to the slight crinkling of the polar flash matched with the pronounced epoxy nose. There’s just something about that Polar Flash that resembles real scales and the epoxy nose is very life like.

This is the fifth installment of  Snook Flies. To read the rest of the interview, and for the complete step-by-step instructions for tying this snook fly and 7 more,  download your copy of Snook Flies at www.saltyflytying.com. Read More

Capt. Bill Baldus’s Neon Knight Snook Fly

“Good fish at nine o’clock, forty feet, can you see him?” I said.  “Yup,” was all he said.  The cast landed close, about 2 feet to the right and settled for a second, short strip. The snook charged hard and we were connected.” Yes, we have a new fly,” was all I could say as we landed a great snook. Then I remembered my manners and congratulated my angler. He understood.  This fly triggered an awesome strike, did not spook the fish and solved all of the problems of previous attempts. And so was born the Neon Knight. Since then, it has become my go-to fly.  The Neon Knight is fished in the same manner as any baitfish imitation. Let it sink a bit and vary the retrieve from short to long strips depending on your target. You will find that it lands softly and sinks slowly as the synthetics do not absorb water.

This is the fifth installment of  Snook Flies. To read the rest of the interview, and for the complete step-by-step instructions for tying this snook fly and 7 more,  download your copy of Snook Flies at www.saltyflytying.com. Read More

Drei Stroman’s Crystal D Snook Fly

The original gold Crystal D was designed in 2005 as a saltwater utility fly, appealing to Snook Sea trout, Redfish, Snapper, Jacks, and myriad other species.  The idea behind the pattern was to develop a fly that would provide the same flashy appearance as a gold spoon without the wobble. For clear water situation this pattern has been modified with white and translucent materials.  One of the keys to the fly’s effectiveness is its larger profile yet light presentation. This fly was designed to imitate small baitfish and can be fished effectively in both shallow and deep water conditions.

This is the forth installment of  Snook Flies. To read the rest of the interview, and for the complete step-by-step instructions for tying this snook fly and 7 more,  download your copy of Snook Flies at www.saltyflytying.com. Read More

Pete Squibbs’ Dirty Squibbster Snook Fly

Because the waters along the beaches were so churned up and dirty, my normal light and bright patterns just didn’t seem to stand out. I was picking up snook occasionally, so I knew the snook were still in close to the beaches, but it seemed like they just weren’t able to pick the flies out in those water conditions. Using the Squibbster as a base, I began experimenting with various color combinations and materials to produce a fly that was more visible in ” muddy ” water.

My experience with spring steelhead fishing has shown gold/ yellow/ copper colors to be more productive. After a couple weeks of experimenting, I settled on tan as the contrasting color that appears to be visually stimulating to the fish in dirty water. Read More

Dave Johnson’s Petticoat Snook Fly

“Marabou has the most action in the water than of any other material I know of. When the marabou is placed and spread out in the loop, and twisted, (locked in the thread) then palmered forward, the marabou encompasses the body of the hook. That is the reason I call it the Petticoat streamer,” said Dave.
When pulled through still water or in moving water, the marabou tips move all around the hook and the profile of the fly looks like a bait fish. When the fly is stopped, the hook sinks down and the wing flares up. Because of the marabou is twisted in the loop, the fly is imparted with a lifelike action, yet the marabou does not foul. That is what makes the Petticoat Streamer so effective.

This is the second installment of  Snook Flies. To read the rest of the interview, and for the complete step-by-step instructions for tying this snook fly and 7 more,  download your copy of Snook Flies at www.saltyflytying.com. Read More

Joe Mahler’s Strawboss Snook Fly

In the past five years, the Straw boss has become my “Go-To Fly” for  Snook and everything from largemouth, smallmouth and peacock bass in freshwater, to redfish, tarpon and sea trout in the salt.

The pattern does take some patience and practice to tie, but with a fly that is intended to be fished slowly, the details become very important. Read More

Snook Flies eBook

Each year is a little different, but typically around late April or early May the snook start their annual migration from the rivers, creeks and backwater estuaries to the gin clear water and sandy beaches to spawns.  The massive funnel of fish disband into small pods or strings of individuals and cruise up and down the shoreline in knee-deep water.   These ghost-like shadows drive angles crazy violently busting up rafts  glass minnows and white bait with reckless abandonment.

When the water is clear, Seeing 30-40” fish is a frequent occurrence,  and what used to be a private sight fishing oasis for the local has quickly become an addictive  destination location for adventure anglers world wide. May and June are prime fishing beach fishing times in South West Florida, and each year the number of fly-rodders increases exponentially. Some weakened warriors that seem to whip the water to a froth, others brilliantly talented casters and tyers from unknown providence.  Whatever the case, it seems inevitable that soon there will be more fisherman than swimmers and the once easy to catch, blissfully ignorant submarine sized snook, are now highly educated and extremely scrupulous. Over the last 10 seasons of chasing snook, I have honed my techniques and refined my selection of flies down to just the key essentials required for hoodwinking this exceedingly erudite fish.  The pattens presented have been rigorously tested and have a confirmed track-record for persuading copious numbers of scholarly snook.  This selection of flies will ensure you have the entire water column covered and give you the ability to “Match the Minnows” size and location in the water column, no matter where you are fishing. Read More

Feather Brain: Creating & Tying with Dubbing Brushes

Feather Brain: Dubbing Brushes

A dubbing brush is really just a customized pipe cleaner. Instead of a synthetic core like chenille, the two wires that make up the core sandwich a variety of different materials that can be palmered around the hook shank. By customizing your own brushes, you can match the other materials you are tying with exactly, as well as blend several colors, providing youwith more lifelike patterns Read More

Feather Brain: Markers … Don’t Leave home with out them

Feather Brain, Markering

So much you learn about catching fish is about being versatile  and being able to adapt your fly to match or mimic a specific prey item in a specific situation is paramount.  A small modification is sometimes all you need to trigger a strike. I can’t think of a more versatile tool for fly tying or in-the-field alterations than permanent markers. Read More