January’s fly of the month is the Eye fly, essentially a miniature variation of the Surf Candy fly pattern made famous primarily by American fly tyer Bob Popovics. The Eye fly is a very effective tiny baitfish pattern that is great for hunting smaller baitfish feeding saltwater species like Herring, most small Tuna species (Striped & Mack especially), small Tailor, small Trevally, small Salmon (Kahawai), Frigate Mackerel, Scad etc. The Eye fly can be tied in a variety of colours and colour combos, however my favourites are, all clear (translucent), clear over white or all white, but olive over white, grey over white, pink over white all work well in different situations. The fly colour is not really important, the triggers are as the name suggests the eye, the size/shape and a small amount of flash (silver or pearl). This pattern is mostly tied using Super hair or Unique hair for the body, but other materials like Polar fibre, Holofusion, Fluoro fibre and even white Craft fur can be used, but some of these fibers although promoting a little more movement just aren’t quite as durable and can foul when cast. This fly is extremely easy to cast, doesn’t foul much and is generally highly durable.
Recipe: in order of tying.
Hook – size 4#, 2# or 1# Gamakatsu SL12S, Mustad Tarpon or similar (shorter shanked hooks are best).
Thread – clear monofilament thread is preferred if not flat waxed 210 denier white will do.
Body wrap (optional) – a couple of strands of silver or pearl Sparkle flash tied in, twisted together then wrapped onto the hook shank.
Under wing – a very small bunch of tapered clear Super hair, tied in on top of the hook shank about 2mm back from the hook eye and about 2-3 x the hook length from tie in point to tail depending on the length of the baitfish your trying to represent.
Flash – 2 strands (one each side of hook shank) of silver or Pearl Sparkle flash or flashabou or fine Lateral scale flash tied in the same length as the wing (sometimes cut shorter to represent gut sack flash).
Over wing – another very small bunch of tapered clear Super hair or colour of your choice (smoke works well) tied in on top just behind the hook eye the same length as the under wing.
Topping/Dorsal line (optional) – a few tapered fibres (around 4 strands) of Midge flash or darker (grey or olive) Super hair your choice of colour.
Whip finish and cut tying thread.
Head – apply one thin coat of UV resin (hard or flex) over the body from the hook eye extending back to the hook bend. You can just cover the eyes & front bindings if the wing material is stiff enough to prevent fowling.
Eyes – Stick on holographic silver eyes, size to suit fly size (not too small as these are a focal point for the fish).
Apply a second coat of the UV resin over the entire head making sure to encase the eyes.
This fly is usually fished on an 6wt – 8wt rod on a 12lb fluorocarbon tippet with a lefty’s loop knot to allow for maximum movement. Usually best retrieved as fast as you can with double overhanded strip the second it hits the water.
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