Baitfish are a staple food source for Striped Bass of all sizes up-and-down the East Coast. Species such as Silversides, Menhaden, Peanut Bunker (juvenile Menhaden), Herring, Bay Anchovies, and Shad make up a significant part of a Striper’s diet. Because these baitfish are so common, it is important for fly anglers to always have plenty of imitations in their box while targeting these Bass. These 5 flies will have you covered on the water, so you don’t have to worry about getting caught without the necessary files for any given situation.

Clouser Minnow

The Clouser Minnow is probably the most widely used baitfish pattern in fly fishing. The Clouser is so simple, only really containing a few materials, but that simplicity is what makes it so effective. You can fish light ones over sand flats, and big heavy ones down around deep rocks. This fly is incredibly versatile and should have a place in every Striper anglers’ fly box.

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Lefty’s Deceiver 

Lefty’s Deceiver is another classic. Just like the Clouser, the Deceiver is clean, simple, and super effective. Whenever I find myself in new water or just can’t decide on what to throw, the deceiver comes out of its not-so-deep hiding.

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Gurgler 

You can’t have a list of baitfish flies for any species without including the Gurgler. Whenever Striped Bass are actively feeding on baitfish, especially near the surface, Gurglers really shine. Just a simple “strip, strip, pause” retrieve gets the fly gurgling and the Bass happy enough to slurp it down. Marshes are my favorite places to use gurglers but just like every other fly on this list, they will get the job done anywhere.

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GameChanger

There is no doubting the fact that Blane Chocklett’s Game Changer lives up to its name. This fly has arguably the best profile and action in the baitfish fly category. This fly has the ability to imitate the smallest rain bait to the biggest Herring and even Menhaden, just depending on the size and color of the fly.

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Surf Candy

To finish off this list, the Surf Candy is a total Striped Bass classic. It is another super-realistic imitation of some of the Stripers’ favorite snacks such as Sandeels, Silversides, and Bay Anchovies. When Bass are being picky on small to medium-sized bait, I will almost always look for a Surf Candy.

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Stocked with these 5 flies, you will always be prepared for that last-minute, golden hour blitz that we all dream about, and just about any other situation you might find yourself in while fly fishing for Striped Bass. Make sure to check out past and future installments of this Striped Bass fly series.

Trophy Striped Bass Tips with Capt. Matt Zimmerman

Fly Fishing the Striped Bass Flats

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

 

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