Fly Fishing for Coastal Gamefish
Q. How full do you tie clousers, deceivers, or other favorite baitfish patterns?
A. From full-on bushy to extremely sparse, depending on what I am trying to imitate. When I lived in Massachusetts and fished on Cape Cod, I tied a lot of sparse flies to imitate the long and slender sand eels that make up a good part of the striper diet. During my time there, I learned to tie layered, multi-hued, sparse flies to imitate sand eels. Depending on water depth and where the stripers were feeding (bottom, mid-water, surface), I used lead-eye clousers, beadchain clousers, or deceivers or blond-type streamers.
My shrimp patterns (many of which are variations on the clouser theme) tend to be rather slender. If I am tying to imitate some of the herrings that have a high body profile, I often use the hi-tie style to give the fly a high profile. But I don't use much material - the fly has to look big without casting big. I want the fly to imply fullness when in the water, but a sparsely tied fly will be easier to cast. When tying flies to imitate bottom-dwelling fish like blennies, gobies, and toadfish, I often palmer material (hackle, dubbing, wool, etc) around the hook shank to give the impression of the round body profile of these prey.
In general, be sparse with materials. I think that many beginning tiers tend to use too much material on their flies.
The Fisherman's Coast approach focuses on how coastal gamefish interact with their habitats and prey. The more you know about the gamefish you pursue with a fly rod, the more often you'll be in the right place at the right time with the right fly making the right presentation. It's about catching more fish.
Our sister site Tribal Bonefish is all about conservation through responsible fishing. Tribal Bonefish shows you how to become a better steward of our coasts to protect our fisheries today, and ensure future generations get a chance to experience these fisheries.