Eye of the Guide


Tom Travis - XXX, 2015

Sysadmin Note
Part 24 can be found here

Saltwater Odds & Ends

There are days when the Snook are hiding, the Tarpon are absent and the Redfish seem to be on vacation at Sea World but that does not mean that you will go fishless for there are many species that can tantalize the angler while other species will cause you to grab the Florida Fish Identification Guide to see just what the heck you have on the end of the line. Besides, on days like these I will often experiment with a variety of patterns.

During this time of experimentation I often use small minnow patterns that I have tied from the scraps of materials from other patterns that I have been tying. Over the years these small minnow imitations a have produced some surprising results producing Snook, Ladyfish, Jack's and many other species.

Even on a slow day of fishing there are so many events that can catch your attention and all of these events fill up a rather wonderful day and the fish become a bonus. Remember you can't catch fish unless your fly is in the water!

Here are photo's of things that have filled up my days even when the fishing is a little slow. Then I will share some photographs and comments on some of the small minnows I have created from the scraps on my tying table. Furthermore I am always playing with patterns like the Clouser Minnows where I have added a collar of dubbing brush material. This pattern has proven effective on many different species and I now tie it on many different color combinations.

In the saltwater there is always much to learn and many pattern styles to experiment with and modify or new ideas which sends us to the fly tying vise. Everyone seems to have their own personal saltwater hooks which they advocate using, however I have large quantities of Tiemco, Mustad and Dai-Riki Saltwater Hooks and therefore these are the hooks I generally use. But if you have a favorite hook then use it most of the modern hooks for saltwater are well made and will do the job. When tying an imitation I make sure that the point and barb are in good shape and that the hook eye is closed, I do not sharpen the hook until I am ready to use it. Why sharpen the hook at the vise and then place in a fly box where it rattles around with a bunch of other flies becoming dull in the process and that is why I sharpen my hooks when I tie the imitation to the leader.

Often you will encounter another angler on the water!

Sometimes you can receive a surprised visit from others who roam the waters you are fishing and these visits can be the high light of your day.

Hi Guys, How's the Fishing!

Oops, Hard Headed Catfish caught by the wrong end, must be a local method.

Oops better hook that!
Ok, now you better not cast to that!

Pelican are often hooked!
Pelicans often get in the way of the fly angler, be careful of their bill when you are unhooking them!
Needlefish on a Fly
Needlefish on a Fly.

Lizard Fish on a Clouser
Lizard fish on a fly!

Little Goby taken on Small Clouser Minnow
Goby on a Fly.

New Idea for the Clouser
New Idea for a variation of the Clouser Minnow, adding a Dubbing Brush Collar on certain color combinations, looks good but will it work?
Brown Bunny Worm

Chartreuse Bunny Worm
This style of Bunny Worm works as an imitation of the smaller Marine Worms found in the saltwater and so far this pattern has worked well on Flounder, Pompano, small Snook and Redfish.

The Scrap Bait Series

The following photographs are of flies that I have tied from the scraps on my fly tying table and these small minnow patterns have accounted for many good fish over the years. Some of these patterns have become standard patterns in my fly boxes, all of these patterns are tied on Size 4, 6 or 8 and are very simple to construct. I often use these patterns with sink tip or slow sinking lines and these patterns often used in shallow water, however I have successfully used this pattern in deeper waters and as with all patterns remember to fit the patterns to the situation you encounter.
Scrap Bait-Brown Spot
Brown Spot Scrap Bait

Scrap Bait Yellow & Red
Yellow & Red Scrap Bait


Scrap Bait Pale Chartreuse
Pale Chartreuse Scrap Bait

Scrap Bait Orange & White
Orange & White Scrap Bait
Scrap Bait Black-Silver & White
Black-Silver & White Scrap Bait

Scrap Bait Barred Orange & White
Barred Orange & White Scrap Bait
Scrap Bait Baby Mullet
Baby Mullet Scrap Bait

Scarp Bait Barred Backcountry
Barred Backcountry Scrap Bait
Scap Bait Flashy Rabbit Streamer
Flashy Tan Rabbit Scrap Bait

Scrap Bait-Red
Red Scrap Bait

All of the Scrap Bait patterns are tied with EP Fibers or the obvious Rabbit Strip and the eyes are all 3D style and applied with epoxy.

Besides the saltwater I have used these patterns on Bluegill, Bass and even Trout have fallen to these small minnows. Experiment and try a few of your own creations and you may be surprised by what chases and eats these small minnows.

Nice Pinfish on a fly

Ok what is it
Ok it ate a Scrap Bait but what is it.
I wonder if they will eat this!
I wonder if they will eat this?

There are many patterns that will work and there are many different events that may fill up my days on the saltwater making each day a true adventure and each day special.

Enjoy & Good Fishin'


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