Essentials: Piscine Temptations

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Hardware and Software, February 1997

Essentials: Piscine Temptations
By Donovan Webster

Ah, the allure of saltwater fly-fishing: Whether you're hitting a reedy inland tide pool or throwing shooting taper lines into the deep blue, you can cast all day without a bite, content to revel in the place. Still, there's nothing quite like catching a fish, and for that you'll need a passel of convincing flies. The seasoned saltwater angler may agonize over whether to choose a facsimile of a baitfish or crustacean, and whether it should be a true-to-life imitator or a more flashy attractor, but the best way to find a fly that'll work for your purposes is to ask a local shop. Nonetheless, here's a smattering of patterns proven from Nantucket to Los Roques, Venezuela, all available from Orvis (800-548-9548) for about $5.

Tropical Flies
If it's a silver king you want to tempt, try Huff's Tarpon Fly. It's a modern version of the classic attractor tied by famed tarpon fisherman Steve Huff. For luring permit with a crab imitation, my favorite is the Merkin, a clipped-yarn offering from Del Brown. The classic bonefish fly is a wisp known as the Crazy Charlie, offered in both attractor and imitator versions. It sinks fast into the sand, and then you can coax it to swim like a frightened shrimp.

Cool-Water Flies
The Clouser Minnow is a fly fisherman's "All Madden Team" standout. An attractor designed to lure smallmouth bass, it's now used just as often in saltwater for striped bass. For running bluefish, you'll need a popping bug, and the Mystic Bay Foam Popper, available in both attractor and imitator incarnations, is many a fisherman's favorite.

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