How to Tie: The Saltwater Gurgler

In this week’s “How to Tie” video feature, Fly Fish Food shows us how to tie the Saltwater Gurgler.

Learn About This Fly:

Difficulty: Intermediate 

Originally brought to life by legendary tyer, Jack Gartside, the Saltwater Gurgler (or the Gartside Gurgler) is a favorite amongst salty topwater enthusiasts. Noted for its ability to draw wary fish to toss caution to the current and lunge at the surface, this conglomeration of fur, feathers, and foam is commonly referred to as one of the most effective saltwater flies from the US to Japan.

What makes this fly unique is the “gurgling” effect that it gives off when skating across the water. This is largely in part due to the foam lip that protrudes off the front of the fly, causing the fly to plow through the top inch of water like a freight train off the rails. This disturbance is like a dinner bell to predatory fish such as tarpon, snook, GT, and redfish.

When tying this fly, it’s hard not to have a little fun with it. The diverse array of materials that are tossed onto the hook shank almost make the makeup of the fly seem arbitrarily selected. It’s as if someone wanted to see how many different materials they could fit into one fly. However, by sticking to the recipe, new fly tyers can work on practicing an assortment of different tying methods such as working with deer hair (depending on how you tie it), applying mono-eyes, wrapping hackle, and so on. That being said, this fly especially benefits from playful innovation. By testing out new materials and colors, you can really diversify your arsenal for your next trip to the flats!


  • Hook: Daiichi 2546 #1/0
  • Thread: MFC Premium 3/0 – Pink
  • Tail: Arctic fox tail hair – Tan
  • Hot Spot (spawn sack) – Cactus chenille – Hot orange
  • Eyes: Epoxy mono crab eyes – Tan
  • Body1: Palmer chenille – Pink
  • Body2: Coq De Leon Hen Saddle – White
    Body3: Maradub – Bonefish betty
  • Foam: Two-tone fly tying foam – Tan/pink
  • Head: Ice dub – UV tan

Now you know how to tie the saltwater gurgler!

Video and Ingredients courtesy of Fly Fish Food

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