How to Tie Saltwater Flies

How to Tie Saltwater Flies
The next time you fish flats, tidal pools or brackish salt waters change things a little by using fly fishing gear. Going after larger saltwater game fish species with relatively light fly gear can be a thrilling experience. Add to the enjoyment by creating and fine-tuning your own saltwater fishing flies. With a few fly tying tools, some insight and patience you can produce flies of which you can be proud--and will also catch fish.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly-tying vise
  • Thread bobbin
  • Knot-tying tool
  • Scissors
  • #4 to #8 saltwater fly hook
  • Thread
  • Animal hairs or feathers
Step 1
Place a #4 through #8 long shank saltwater fly hook in the jaws of the fly-tying vise. Position the hook so it is held in place by the bend with the shank on top and the point on the bottom.
Step 2
Select a thread for the body of the fly. Consider using one or even several color threads in combination to achieve realistic results. Place the thread in a bobbin and begin wrapping the shank of the hook just below the eye.
Step 3
Wrap the thread down the shank to just above the bend and back up to the eye. Work the thread down the shank one more time and then back up to the eye to build up the body of the fly.
Step 4
Attach animal hairs or feathers to the shank of the hook to add realism to the body of the bait being imitated. Feathers, for example, are an excellent choice for imitating a bait fish such as a minnow. Consider combining different color or texture hairs to achieve realistic results. Secure the hairs or feathers to the shank with several turns of thread.
Step 5
Finish the fly by creating a head just below the eye of the hook. Make several turns around the shank of the hook just below the eye to build up a head for the fly. Tie the line off with a double overhand knot using a knot-tying tool. Cut the line with scissors when done.

Tips & Warnings

Add eyes to a saltwater fly by gluing on small glass beads. Secure the eyes on either side of the head using a waterproof glue.

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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