Striped Bass Flies - My 3 Essential

All Striper fishermen have their workhorse flies, the flies that account for most of their fish. Unfortunately they rarely think about why those flies work, why that assortment covers most of their striper fishing situations.

It might just be because those are simply the flies they use, but if you take a more scientific approach you are likely to catch more fish than if you just use.

I've learned from experience over the past 2+ decades that the follow three flies cover most striped bass situations. Yes, I use other flies too. Sometimes I'll build up to a dizzying array of dozens of types of flies in my fly box, only to realize that I haven't used most of them in a couple years, and then I'll purge them and clean up my (usually) messy fly box.

If you don't tie or are too busy, the Umpqua: Striped Bass Guide Selection, 20 Flies contains a great selection, including Clousers, deceivers, as well as some bulkier snake like flies.

RiverBum has nicely priced and tied Clousers and deceivers. Not many places sell snake flies, but ArtNFlies does. I haven't personally checked them out but they look good. And don't forget to patronize your local flyshop too!

The three striped bass flies I depend most on are leftys deceivers, clouser minnows, and snake flies. Like most flyfishermen, I seem to have 100 different types of flies, but these are the three I use regularly for stripers and that account for probably over 90% of my bass.

Leftys Deceiver:

I like both long and short ones, usually in the 2" to 5" range.
I tie my striper deceivers primarily sparsely in all black, all white, all chartreuse, and white with a green top.

Deceiver - White, 4" long

The deceiver is an incredibly versatile fly. You can fish it on top, deep, and in the middle. It can match short thin baitfish, long thin baitfish, fat baitfish, and quite an array of other critters: grass shrimp, lobsters, and just about everything else.

I tie the majority of my striper deceivers on 1/0 Mustad 34007 hooks. I like to tie a few on bigger hooks, for example a 3/0 or 4/0 hook, primarily because they sink faster with a big hook. Striped bass have big mouths anyways, so big hooks are not a problem.

I usually add a little bit of flash on top, maybe 4-10 stands of whatever I have on hand, trimmed to random lengths for maximum effect, and sometimes top my striper deceivers in  peacock hurl, especially the all white ones.

I love all black deceivers at night, especially when there is no moon! Somehow the bass find them.

“The fly can be tied in many ways. The Lefty’s Deceiver is not really a strict pattern but a method of tying. It can have various shapes, lengths, and colors. The fly can be tied as short as two inches and longer than a foot for billfish, amberjack, and other species demanding a large offering. It can be tied in a bend-back fashion or with the hook reversed. It has caught everything from striped bass to baramundi and billfish. To get full benefit from the Lefty’s Deceiver, you need to analyze what you are trying to do and match the type of fly to the conditions.” -Lefty Kreh

Clouser Minnow:

Clouser  Minnow

You need a striper fly that sinks rapidly, and the Clouser is my choice.

I like pink, white, chartreuse, and white with a green top.  I tie these between 2 to 3 1/2+ inches long.

I tie them almost exclusively on 1/0 hooks, usually Mustad 34007, but I always have a few smaller sized ones, usually size 4 or 6, just in case. These are great flies for catching 'miscellaneous' species, and I tend to catch lots of strange miscellaneous species, especially when fishing further South.

I'll often switch to a Clouser tied on a smaller hook when I'm getting strikes but no hookups -- maybe something with a smaller mouth than a striper is chomping at my fly?

Click Here for How To Tie a Clouser Minnow

Snake Fly:

Snake FlyI love snake flies! I trim the deer hair head pretty thin, and tie them both smallish, say 2" and bigger, maybe 4-5", in all black, all white, and orange head with chartreuse body.

Snake flies can match a wide variety of baitfish and critters, just like the flies above, and imitate a bigger bodied baitfish easier due to the deer hair head.

I pretty much use white ones in the day and black ones at night. The orange/chartreuse ones, which I only tie in smaller sizes, around 2" long, sometimes work phenomenally well, although I have no idea why!

Miscellaneous Striper Flies

I try to always carry a few flyrod poppers, usually "Bob's Bangers" tied on 2/0 Mustad 34011 hooks, and a few very sparse flies, often Rays Fly or Eelies.

Plus all kinds of strange stuff -- sometimes to match the prevalent bait, but usually because I just got creative when tying :)

More soon! Including hopefully some pictures (done!) and tying details (coming).

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