Saltwater Fly Tying Instructions

Saltwater Fly Tying Instructions
From saltwater flats and tidal pools to brackish black waters, there are many opportunities for fly-fishing for saltwater game fish. The thrill of fishing for and hooking a larger saltwater fish is all the greater when you're using relatively light tackle such as a fly rod. Many anglers enjoy fine-tuning their saltwater flies and tie their own at home. With a few materials you can produce a respectable fly that will attract the next big one.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Saltwater fly hook (#4 to #8)
  • Thread (various colors)
  • Feathers or animal hair
  • Small-diameter black beads
  • Fly-tying vise
  • Thread bobbin
  • Scissors
  • Knot-tying tool
Step 1
Attach the fly-tying vise to a sturdy work surface such as a counter or workbench. Place the fly hook in the jaws of the vise. The bend of the hook should be in the jaws with the shank on top and the point on the bottom.
Step 2
Place a spool of thread into the thread bobbin. Choose a color based on the bait being imitated.
Step 3
Wind the thread onto the shank of the hook beginning just below the eye of the hook. Work your way down the shank to just above the bend and back up to the eye again. Repeat the wrapping to further build the body of the fly.
Step 4
Select feathers or animal hairs to add to the fly. Choose colors that match and build upon the bait being imitated. If imitating a shrimp, choose light-colored animal hairs to help imitate the shell of the shrimp. Attach the feathers or hairs to the fly body with several wraps of thread. The materials should be securely wrapped with several turns of thread.
Step 5
Place eyes on the fly if desired. The addition of beads to the head of the fly to imitate eyes can add a sense of realism and help encourage a strike. Attach the beads by tying them on through the holes in their centers.
Step 6
Wrap the thread around the shank just below the eye of the hook to build the head of the fly, if desired. Tie the thread off with a double overhand knot. Use a knot-tying tool, small knitting needle or sharpened pencil to help tie the knot. Cut the thread with scissors when done.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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