Apart from the Clouser Minnow, the Surf Candy is one of the most popular small saltwater flies. In this tying guide, I’ll teach you how to tie one.
Because most predatory fish in the sea feed primarily on small baitfish, the Surf Candy can be used in any location and on many different species. This fly will catch anything from bluefish to trevally.
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- Difficulty level: Easy
- Tying time: 5-10 minutes
- Materials: Hook, thread, Steve Farrar’s Flash Fibers, stick-on eyes, and UV resin
- Hook size: 8-2/0
What is a Surf Candy?
The Surf Candy imitates a fleeing baitfish. Bob Popovics developed the Surf Candy specifically for New Jersey bluefish. If one of these fish hits a standard bucktail fly, like a Clouser Minnow, the fly is basically destroyed.
Bluefish have some serious teeth on them and are known to demolish flies. The main idea behind the Surf Candy was durability, so Popovics included synthetic fibers and epoxy.
One of my favorite features about these synthetic materials is that they make the fly semi-translucent too.
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How To Fish a Surf Candy?
The Surf Candy is a saltwater fly that resembles a fleeing baitfish. Cast the fly out to where the fish are holding. If you’re sight fishing to fish, make sure you lead them by at least a rod length or two. Once the fly lands, strip the fly relatively quick – remember it’s a fleeing baitfish.
As with almost all saltwater fish species, do not trout set once the fish eats the fly. Simply continue stripping until the line goes tight, whereafter you can raise the rod tip slightly to maintain tension.
Materials You’ll Need To Tie a Surf Candy
You’ll need the following materials to tie a Surf Candy:
A short-shank saltwater hook works well for the Surf Candy. You can use of either silver or black hooks; just make sure that it’s strong and sharp. Remember to pinch those barbs since they’re not necessary. The fish will thank you for it.
A strong thread that lies flat is my personal preference. The most popular thread for the Surf Candy is a translucent monofilament thread.
Here are two of the best options on the market:
- Danville’s 240 denier flat waxed
- Danville’s monofilament thread
These days, there are many synthetic materials on the market that will work well for the Surf Candy. Many of these fibers are the same, but are sold under different names. The material I prefer using is called Steve Farrar’s Flash Blend.
It comes in a wide range of colors and goes semi-translucent underwater, making the fly appear more natural.
Realistic stick-on eyes take the Surf Candy to the next level. Match the size of the eyes to the size of the baitfish you’re tying.
Any clear setting resin can be used for the head. Originally, Bob used a two-part epoxy, and many tiers still prefer this material. I’m in the camp that prefers using UV resin, as it’s clean to work with and cures fast. Whatever you use, make sure it cures clear.
Tools Needed To Tie a Surf Candy
You’ll need the following tools to tie a Surf Candy:
- A rotary vise to help distribute the resin evenly over the head
- A bobbin holder
- A whip finishing tool
- A UV Torch
Step-by-Step Guide To Tie a Surf Candy
Let’s dive into tying the Surf Candy.
Surf Candy Recipe
The specific materials I use are:
- Hook: Grip 21571 size 6
- Thread: Danville’s Flat Waxed 210 Denier in white
- Underbody: Steve Farrar’s Flash Fiber in an off-white color
- Overbody: Steve Farrar’s Flash Fiber in mullet brown color
- Eyes: Fish Skull 4mm Living Eyes
- Resin: Combination of Solarez Thin and Bonedry UV resin
- Markings: Brown Copic marker
Step 1: Secure the Hook in the Vise
Remove a hook from the packet and place the bend between the jaws of the vise. The hook shank and eye must be level.
Secure the hook and test properly to ensure the hook doesn’t move about.
Step 2: Attach the Thread
Hold the thread’s end with your non-tying hand and wrap the thread with the bobbin over the top of the shank, to about ¼ of the length of the hook shank behind the eye.
Make five wraps forward, then back the thread over itself five times to lock it in place. Cut off the excess.
Step 3: Lay a Thread Foundation
Lay thread foundation about ¼ of the hook shank long behind the eye. We’ll only be tying in the material in this area.
The rest of the shank will be left bare.
Step 4: Tie In the Underbody
Pull a small bunch of white Steve Farrar’s Flash Fibers from the packet and find the halfway point.
Tie this point in on the bottom of the hook, leaving a gap behind the hook eye.
Step 5: Fold the Forward Fibers Back
Fold the forward-facing fibers back and secure with thread so that it lays next to the other bunch.
Step 6: Tie in the Over Body
Flip the hook over and pull a small bunch of mullet brown fibers from the packet.
Like before, locate the hallway point and tie it in.
Step 7: Fold the Forward Fibers Back
Fold the forward-facing fibers back and secure them to lie next to the rest of the brown fibers.
Step 8: Whip Finish
Form a neat slender head for the fly and whip finish behind the hook eye.
Step 9: Stick On the Eyes
Stick on two eyes on opposite sides of the thread head and secure them with a small drop of UV resin.
Step 10: Apply the First Layer of Resin
Apply UV resin between the two eyes and around the entire head. Also, make sure to cover the thread head too.
Pull the tail to make the head as thin as possible and cure with a UV torch.
Step 11: Apply the Second Layer of Resin
Apply a liberal amount of resin over the top of the first coat, rotating the vise constantly for even distribution. Use a bodkin to spread it if you’re struggling.
Form a neat head for the fly and cure properly with the UV torch.
Step 12: Apply the Third Layer of Resin
For this coat, I use Solarez Bone Dry, which is very thin and cures hard and clear, leaving no tackiness.
Apply a thin coat over the entire head while rotating the vise. Cure with the UV torch until dry.
Step 13: Trim the Tail
Using the base of a pair of scissors, trim the tail to form a taper.
That’s How To Tie a Surf Candy
The Surf Candy ticks all the right boxes for a small baitfish fly. It’s easy to tie, durable, and looks incredible underwater.
I hope that you found this guide for tying the Surf Candy helpful. If you don’t have the exact materials I have, don’t be deterred. Experiment with various materials and colors, and I assure you the fly will catch fish.
Please leave any comments and questions at the bottom of the page.
Until next time.