Eye of the Guide

Saltwater Chronicles (part 3)

Tom Travis - June 02, 2014

Sysadmin Note
Part 2 can be found here

BAIT, now there is a term that makes many fly fishers cringe, however if you fish the saltwater the talk is always about what baits are running or what baits the fish are eating. You might say that the discussion of baits is part of the saltwater fly fishing culture, at least in my area. The importance of the bait can not be over stated, this is what the fish are eating and what we strive to create imitations of in hopes that the fish will eat our creations. Therefore, we need to understand where the bait is found, how it swims and acts, is it a solitary creature or does it move in groups or schools and finally what is the availability of the bait to the fish? Find the Bait and you will find the gamefish it really is as simple as that!

As fly tyers we must consider the size and color of the bait and where in the water column the bait is found. We need to consider the activities of the bait such as how it swims, how the tides effect movement of the creature in question. We also must consider the silhouette, the amount of natural flash on the bait and the translucence and/or iridescence of the bait and finally the size and color of the eyes of the bait.

So what kind of BAITS are we talking about probably the most common and popular of the baits is Shrimp. Now I could lay out the Phylum, Subphylum, and Class and so on, but I suspect that there is little interest in that information, however I will tell you that various shrimp species inhabit the coastal waters from Maine to Texas and the sizes and the colors can vary.

When I am fishing in the Destin area of the Florida panhandle I often found brown or tannish shrimp to be very effective. However, in Panama City area olive or banded tan shrimp are the ticket, when fishing here in Sebastian Inlet area I have the best result with tan or gray Shrimp.

The following are some of my favorite shrimp patterns. I found these patterns to be very effective for me however I use a variety of fly lines when fishing these patterns. The water has to be very shallow for me to be using a floating line, if the water is three or deeper then I will be using a sink tip or full sinking fly lines.

Banded Tan Super Clouser Shrimp

Tan Inlet Shrimp


Red Head Tan Inlet Shrimp

Panama Bay Olive Banded Shrimp

I have caught a number of different species on shrimp patterns including snook, bluefish, sea trout, lady fish, redfish, and smaller tarpon, just to name a few of species caught with shrimp patterns. Shrimp imitations are patterns that I am never on the water without.

In the next installment of the column I will be discussing Crabs and Worms.

Enjoy & Good Fishin'

Sysadmin Note
Part 4 can be found here


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