Spring is just around the corner, and for me and many other anglers on Cape Cod and the rest of New England, spring means Stripers. With our Striped friends getting ready to make their way up to their summer homes, myself and just about everybody else are running to our vices doing our best to stock up on all the best bugs before the first fish of the season rolls in. Here are three flies I’ll be tying up in the next few weeks that get the job done for me all season long.
Squid flies are some of my favorites to use all season, but especially in early summer. This time of year squid stack up in rips all over the Cape and get demolished by hungry, aggressive Stripers all day long. This “squid blitz” is one of my all-time favorite bites to hit each year, and this squid gurgler will be seeing a lot of water time this season. When Squid are in the rips, the Bass work together to push the schools of squid up to the surface where they bust out of the water trying to escape the death traps that are the mouths of Striped Bass. The Squid Gurgler pops and gurgles along the surface creating a squid-like action and profile for the Bass to hone in on.
Sandeels are one of the most prevalent food sources for Stripers, especially on the sand flats I love to fish. Sandeels are small, thin baitfish that are perfectly imitated by sparse and delicate flatwings. Flatwings are classic Striper flies that can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the situation. This flatwing highlighted here is super simple yet deadly effective. It lands light on the water so it doesn't spook fish in skinny water, and falls and swims just like the real deal.
Strong-arm Merkin Crab
While often overlooked, crab flies should be a staple in every Striper fisherman’s box. Crabs are ideal for any shallow water scenario where sight fishing may be involved. Just give your fly a few twitches and watch the Bass cruise over and slurp it up. There are loads of Striper flies out there that get the job done, but the Strong-arm Merkin is a rendition of a classic that looks clean and is pretty fun to tie. I also think it does a better job of imitating a crab in a defensive position, which is pretty realistic given the fact that a Striped Bass is hopefully trying to eat it.
These flies are by no means the only flies you need for Stripers on the fly, but they are certainly a good start. I always stay loaded with a few of these in my box and a few more ready to be spun up on the vice back at home at a moment's notice. So, get ready for salt season and keep your eyes out for future articles and tutorials on these flies and everything else fly fishing.
Written by Nate Holmes
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