Lefty’s Deceiver & Great Saltwater Fly Types: Consider the following flies as examples of different types of flies. You may well find similar flies or specific ties with different names (some as popular as Lefty’s Deceiver), colors, and sizes, but the general shape, look, and action of these types of flies in the water will do you fine, no matter what the name.
Lefty’s Deceiver: A true friend
Once again, the Deceiver appears on everyone’s list of gotta-have flies. What it really means is that streamers that look like baitfish attract bigger fish.
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Crazy Charlie: A very sane choice
Charlie Smith, a bonefish guide on Andros Island, developed this fly in the late 1970s. With a weighted eye and an upside-down hook, it gets to the bottom, but because of the hook placement, it doesn’t hang up on coral. In the years since its invention, it has become the most popular fly for bonefish (along with the Gotcha). We think the bones take it for a shrimp or crab. Don’t feel constrained to use it for bonefish exclusively. It will take permit as well as stripers. We fished it for the huge rainbows of Jurassic Lake in Patagonia. Moral of the story: If you have one in your fly box, don’t be afraid of using it when the so-called “right” flies aren’t producing. Like the Clouser and the Deceiver, it just seems to work.
The Surf Candy: The name says it all
Among the immortals of saltwater fly tying, Bob Popovics is the pinnacle. He lives “down the shore” in Bruce Springsteenland, New Jersey. Sometime in the 1970s, he grew weary of having the bluefish tear up his flies after one, or at most two, fish. So he started coating his bucktail streamers with epoxy. As he tells the story, the first tries were an embarrassing, gooey mess.
Still, as Popovics remembers, “After one guy came in and said he caught 24 bluefish, we started to think of it as a real fly even if it was sloppy.” The big breakthrough came when Popovics started using Polar Bear hair and, later, synthetics. They gave the flies, shown in Figure 11-10, a translucent sheen that fooled even finicky stripers and super-difficult albacore. We really like that by staying at it for years and continuing to think things through, one dedicated angler and fly tier came up with a fly that enriched the sport of thousands. We urge you to keep a similar open mind and to try your new ideas. If they work, stay with them until you cannot improve them anymore. It’s a killer for albacore and bass as well as blues.
Snake Fly: Eels and then some
Originated by Lou Tabory, a pioneer saltwater angler, this is a good eel imitation, and we’ve yet to hear of a striper that didn’t like eels. Use this fly for anything wiggly.
A Crab Fly: It fairly screams “eat me”
A crab fly is your best shot at a permit (“best” is a relative term with these picky eaters). We can say that we have interested a few permit, but never connected. The fly wasn’t at fault. Nor was the fisherman. Permit are superunpredictable. We’ve fished it for trout in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (when we didn’t have the crayfish imitations that the locals swear by). All the many crab variations have their supporters. Hands down they are the best producers on stripers in the early season when the fish first come out onto the flats.
The Clouser: Still the champ
Yes, that’s right — the Clouser again. Just like the Lefty’s Deceiver, it can play a whole lot of positions on your team. We’ve yet to find a type of fly fishing where it doesn’t work.
The Crease Fly
We love this fly. Watching the surface explosion of a saltwater fish on a Crease fly is a matchless thrill on salt water. Invented by Joe Blados of Greenport, New York, for blues and stripers, it is also super for albacore and even baby bluefin. Some years ago, we were fishing a tournament where you were supposed to catch bluefish, stripers, and albacore in order to qualify. The albies were so intent on this fly and we were having so much fun that we couldn’t bring myself to leave them to round out my scorecard with the other species. We suppose you could say we lost, but we felt, and still feel, that as far as fishing satisfaction goes, we won.