Designing and tying flies for flats fishing- Part 2

In which we discuss anatomy and habitat…

Red drum (redfish, red bass, spot tail bass) are the ultimate opportunistic predators. They will eat anything if given the chance. Their mouth is situated in the middle of their head and they can feed up and down in the water column with equal aplomb. Having said that, sometimes they can get picky. On white sand flats under a clear sky you have the toughest situation. Let’s take that buggy fly with the rubber legs… in dark water, with weeds and siltation, you normally want a fly that is brightly colored and pushes a lot of water. Palmered hackles, big collars, fuzzy rabbit hair bodies and things like that will help a fly get noticed. In clear water the opposite is usually required. Muted colors. Slimmer profiles. More realistic silhouettes. There’s a reason that thin baitfish patterns catch more fish in more places than anything else. They work! Another good choice in clear water is a permit style crab pattern. The point being that in darker, murkier waters a fly with a brighter color patter and a bigger profile is often needed just to be seen. Combine that with the fact that often those murky creeks are packed full of juvenile mullet, shrimp and crabs and you have a need just to be seen. In clearer water something that is brightly colored or not of a realistic profile may be ignored. So more realistic flies in clearer water and brighter bushier in murky water…got it? Let’s move on…

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