As the years progress, anglers find themselves looking to explore more water and target new species. In recent years, saltwater fly fishing has taken over as the new trend within the sport. While certain fish are more entertaining to target then others, Striped Bass are often at the top of everyones list.
These fish are impressive fighters and can grow upwards of a few feet long! They’re an ideal fish to fight on the fly rod. They make their way up streams and rivers that empty into the ocean. Other freshwater lakes and rivers across the country can hold these fish.
While they’re amazing to catch, it’s important that you use the proper flies! They’re not an extremely picky fish, but there are a few patterns that have proven to work.
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What is a Striped Bass Fly?
Striped bass flies primarily sit below the surface of the water. At times they need to get down to 25 or 30 feet! They imitate baitfish of all kinds.
Striped Bass are predators and eat quite a bit. Make sure your flies look tasty enough to fill their strong appetites.
Best Striped Bass Flies
While Striped Bass will feed on the surface of the water, the majority of their feeding is done low in the water column. Make sure you have a mixture of these flies in your box before you hit the water.
If you’re targeting Striped Bass in freshwater, this might not be your best choice of fly, but it can still produce fish. You’ll find this tied on a size 0 or 2 hook.
The flashy hackle and large amount of hair make this a can’t miss target for these fish. If you’re fishing the flats or other shallow parts of the ocean the Mushmouth will work.
Be sure to purchase these patterns in chartreuse and white! They look quite a bit like smaller baitfish and the dumbbell eyes allow you to fish this in rivers as well as strong currents in the ocean.
Go ahead and dead drift it and strip it! The more action you can create with these flies, the better. The color is going to attract the fish and your action will cause them to strike!
The Name Changer is going to work for all types of bass you would target. However, it’s found its way into the Striped Bass community. This fly is tied in a variety of colors so it’s going to fit whatever water conditions you’re fishing. If you’re going after monsters, you can tie these upwards of 14 inches.
When you’re fishing with larger flies, you need to make sure to be patient when you’re casting. These flies can get tangled in your leader if you rush your cast. By staying patient, you’ll allow this pattern to be used to its full potential.
The Crease Fly is a dry fly option for your striped bass. It has a similar appearance to a popper, but the indented mouth has a strong resemblance to a bait fish. The flash looks great in some clear water.
If you’re fishing choppy water, go ahead and tie on this fly! It moves the water at an impressive rate and will entice all of the surrounding fish to take a look.
If you see the fish surface feeding, make sure that you use this pattern! It’s going to provide you with quite a bit of entertainment.
Cinder Worm’s are a unique fly! Cinder worm usually sit near the surface of the water and the creators of this fly figured out a way to do the same. The tightly wound deer hair near the head keeps it up right near the surface.
If you need flashy, you can find this fly in flashy colors! If you need something more subtle, that’s an option as well. As long as you know this pattern works, the color isn’t as important. Remember, if the fish are feeding near the surface, give this fly a shot!
No one should be surprised that this fly is on the list. The Clouser has found a home in just about every fly fishing community in the world.
It’s one of the most classic baitfish patterns you can find. The sparkle, dumbbell eyes and a variety of other factors make this fly special.
If the fish are sitting low, go ahead and tie on the Clouser Minnow. This will dive in the water column and meet the fish wherever they are. You may need to use sinking line depending on how deep you’re trying to get with your fly.
The Striper Sliders is a bit of a lesser known pattern, but works quite well. It’s several inches long so be sure you’re able to cast these longer flies. You need to be a bit more patience on your casts to make sure that the fly doesn’t tangle in the leader.
You can use it with or without a beadhead. It’s important that you know where and what depth the fish are feeding. If you can target them in flats, the Striper Slider is a great option.
The pattern without the beadhead won’t fall too far in the water column and allow you to hit fish in the face.
If you want to fish Striped Bass out East, you need to have a few Sand Eel flies in your box. If they’re eating these flies, that’s all they want.
So you might as well hop on the Sand Eel train and see what kind of fish you can land. Be ready, they’re prepared to hit these patterns hard.
If you tie your own, make sure they’re somewhere between 3 and 8 inches. These are the general sizes that they’ll eat. These eels aren’t the most agile so make sure you’re retrieving them with a bit more of a jerky action.
Some anglers might be surprised to see the Bunny flies pattern on the list since it’s often used to target salmon and other larger fish up north, but it can work great for Striped Bass as well.
They have heavy dumbbell eyes that cause them to sink, but also have quite a bit of action on the retrieve. As you retrieve, make sure you do so at a good pace. They look exactly like baitfish and the Striped Bass have a hard time saying no!
Out of all of the flies on the list, Striped Bass are going to hit these flies the hardest. Keep a tight hold on your line because the fish are going to rip it from you.
Fleye patterns are staples in the world of saltwater fly fishing. You can find mackerel and herring fley flies! Make sure you know what is close by and throw the appropriate pattern. This fly is great if you’re fishing saltwater and the fish are hungry. It’s intrusive and quite obnoxious.
Strip this with some moderate action and see what happens. Odds are you’re going to cause the fish to strike out of instinct and a desire to feast.
Shrimp Flies must also be a part of every saltwater anglers box. Shrimp are all over the east and west coast. Plus, they’re a major part of a Striped Bass’ diet.
These are smaller patterns so make sure that they’re feeding on shrimp before you tie one on! You don’t want to tie on a smaller pattern when you could land some larger fish with a large fly!
Shrimp often crawl along the bottom. Make sure you’re using a sinking tip line and use short and small strips. Shrimp aren’t the most methodical or smooth creatures. Get creative with your retrieval process and see what happens.
The EP Shad is another pattern that lands bass of all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter if you’re fishing in salt or freshwater, this fly will work! You can find these flies in imitations of bluegill as well as perch.
If you’re using the EP Shad, make sure you have 0 or 1x leader. Striped Bass are extremely strong and you need the line to handle their power. You don’t need to tie on any tippet.
These fish aren’t as picky and aren’t able to see the line. If they have their sights set on your fly, they’re going to hit it no matter what.
Striped Bass are an aggressive fish. They want to hit your flies with all of their power and give you the fight of a lifetime. All of the fly patterns mentioned above are going to land these fish regardless of where you’re targeting them. While some may be a bit better suited for saltwater, they can all perform in both.
Have several sizes of each of the above mentioned patterns in your fly box. You never know what size they want or what exactly they’re wanting to hit. If you have a variety of options you can find one that works and stick with it!