5 Sand Eel Flies to Stock Up on for Striper Season

Striped Bass love Sand Eels. Whether the Stripers are cruising across a shallow flat, posting up in a rip, or marauding a shoal or bar, Sand Eels are abundant and impossible for a Bass to pass up. Because Sand Eels are such a common food source for Stripers in many different situations, patterns that imitate them should be a staple in any Striper Angler’s box. Here are a few patterns that we will be stocking up on over the offseason. 

Cichetti’s Sand Eel

Cichetti's Sandeel

This fly has singlehandedly caught more stripers for me in the past few years than any other fly, well, probably. This fly combines the action of a flatwing with the durability of a surf candy, so it earns a reserved parking spot in all my salt boxes.

Materials:

  • A strong saltwater hook
  • White thread
  • Long white and olive bucktail
  • 2-3 White saltwater saddle hackles
  • Small bronze flash
  • Quick cure epoxy or UV cure resin
  • Eyes are optional

Hoo Fly

The Hoo fly is a staple in many New England flats boxes. This is a great, simple, and light Sand Eel pattern that shines on shallow sand flats. I love the Hoo Fly for quick shots at cruising fish.

Materials:

  • A strong saltwater hook
  • White thread
  • Olive and white craft fur
  • Olive and white laser dub
  • Glue-on eyes
  • UV resin

Big Eelie

Big Eely
Photo: John Turvey @flatwingflinger

Another flatwing style Sand Eel. Everything about flatwings screams “Striper” and the Big Eelie is no exception. This fly really does come “alive” in the water.

Materials:

  • A strong saltwater hook
  • White thread
  • White and tan saltwater saddle hackles
  • White bucktail
  • White marabou
  • Silver braid tinsel
  • Optional: Flashabou

Race Point Flatwing

Race Point Flatwing
Photo: Jari Koski

This Beefy Sand Eel is great for when the Bass are feeding on big bait. Typically, the bigger Sand Eels will be found in deeper water so this isn’t a go-to shallow flats fly. This fly is at home in open surf situations or Sand Eel blitzes on shoals. Also if the opportunity presents itself, this fly would get the job done when a school of Bluefin decides to feed on Sand Eels.

Materials:

  • A strong saltwater hook
  • White thread
  • White and olive bucktail
  • Silver flashabou
  • White and olive saltwater saddle hackles
  • Silver braid tinsel
  • Peacock herl 
  • UV resin

Video Tutorial

Slim Jim

Slim Jim Fly
Photo: Umpqua Feather Merchants

The Slim Jim is a very simple fly with a lot going for it. It can be fished both on top or subsurface, and the foam body not only looks realistic but also gives the fly an erratic darting action. 

Materials:

  • A strong saltwater hook preferably with a longer shank
  • White thread
  • White and olive craft fur
  • Pearl flashabou
  • White foam
  • Oliver Sharpie
  • Super glue

Buy them, here!

Armed with these flies, a striper angler can tackle many different situations and find success in many different places. With these patterns, you can be assured that you always are prepared for the water. Keep a lookout for the next installments of this Striped Bass fly series.

Striped Bass Management Enters New Era-For Better Or Worse

Fly Fishing the Striped Bass Flats

Fly Fishing “The Worm Hatch” for Early Season Striped Bass

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