While most situations one would encounter when fly fishing for Striped Bass could be covered with basic gear, 8-9wt, intermediate line, and a simple Clouser or flatwing, there are some times when the simple stuff just doesn’t cut it. I’m talking about worm hatches, Bunker Blitzes, squid season, and those warm nights when hungry cows are looking for big eels. These situations call for very specific flies and tactics, but if you can hit them right, you are in for a treat.
Hines RI Cinder
The spring Cinder Worm hatches of the northeast are definitely in a realm of their own. As far as flies go, everyone has their own “secret” fly, and there aren’t many available to buy. The Hines Cinder worm is simple, durable, and will get the job done wherever the worms are popping.
American Eel Flatwing
Big eels are a favorite food of Cow Bass around New England. The flies we use to imitate these giant eels can seem ridiculous in size and stature, but when that 40+ incher slurps it down, everything makes sense (or at least I would think so). This giant 16” long flatwing does a great job of imitating the eels while still being plenty castable.
Red Can Squid
From early spring to mid-summer, Squid are very abundant in New England inshore waters. Look for rips in open water when fishing squid flies. Striped Bass will post up in a rip when the current is cranking and feed on whatever comes by, especially squid. Position your boat above the rip and cast your fly down into the rip or wherever you see Bass busting and squid flying out of the water. These rip squid “blitzes” produce some of the most fun action-packed Bass fishing of the year.
If you need a big fly that will move some water, look no further. The Striper Dragon is a big fly that is designed for big Bass. I like throwing this fly along rocky shorelines and around structure in heavy current. This is definitely a go-to when covering a lot of water looking for big fish.
Just like the Striper Dragon, Popvick’s Beast Fleye is a big fly designed for big fish. While Beast Fleyes are plenty effective in the surf and around structure, I associate them most with Bunker blitzes. When giant Stripers feed on full-size menhaden, Beast Fleyes are the ticket. Check out our article Fly Fishing Blitzes of the Northeast for more on Bunker blitzes.
While these flies are not necessary for every Striped Bass angler to have in their fly box, they are necessary if you plan on hitting those niche bites where the Bass are extremely keyed in on a specific bait in a specific place. Keeping a few of these bugs around will make sure that if you stumble upon one of these rare events, you are always ready to go! Make sure to check out past articles in the Striped Bass Flies series.