Fly Patterns - Surf Candy

Surf Candy



Mustad 34007 or similar saltwater hook


6/0 Danville nylon, #4 to 2/0


Silver or pearl mylar tinsel or braid (I use my friend Ray Radley�s �Radfloss")


Ultra-Hair or Super-Hair: white, grey, deep green; Crystal Flash: pearl, green/black


Silver or gold adhesive eyes to match the hook size (I prefer the holographic 3-D stick on the eyes)


Red Sharpie


Five-minute epoxy


I�m glad to be back writing this column again. Thanks to Paul Egan for stepping into the breach and taking over for awhile�he did a great job, and has graciously agreed to back me up for those times when I am unable to get an article done due to guiding schedules or fly fishing travel.


For the next few months, I�m going to feature some flies for the salt. Saltwater fly fishing is a new twist that many fly fishers are experiencing. For me the fly fishing angle in salt water is relatively new. I spent most of my non-fly fishing youth prowling the surf, scrambling beneath wharves, and wading among the rocks in Monterey Bay looking for fish. So in a rough sense I knew what to do when it came time to cast a fly into inshore environments. I also spent time on commercial fishing boats, so offshore fishing was not new to me either.  But nothing prepared me for the thrill of saltwater species grabbing my fly and making my reel sing. Until you�ve experienced it, it�s hard to imagine.


Some anglers become so enamored with the salt that freshwater fishing falls by the wayside. That�s not going to happen with me�I couldn�t live without the surface  take of even a tiny trout, or seeing my line hesitate as a fish takes my nymph, or feeling the grab of my steelhead fly on the swing. Nor can I imagine life without bass and panfish, let along striped bass. So many fish�so little time.


The Surf Candy is one of Bob Popovic�s many legendary creations. You can find the Surf Candy and other patterns in his book, co-authored with Ed Jawoworski: Pop Fleyes. Created in the late 1980�s, it represents baitfish. It can be tied in various colors to imitate different baitfish species. One common saltwater species is the Sardina, found virtually everywhere in Baja. The version in this article is designed to represent a Sardina. Incidentally, it can be used as a freshwater baitfish for swinging streamers to big fall browns, and even for bass.


Tying Instructions

  1. Cover hook shank with thread back to hook point; at that point tie in a piece of pearl mylar tinsel or braid. Take thread to hook eye, wrap the material forward and tie off behind the eye.

  2. Tie in a small bunch of white synthetic hair behind the eye; it should extend about 5 hook lengths behind the bend of the hook.

  3. On top of the white, tie in a small bunch of the grey synthetic hair (same length). Apply a drop of super glue to hold these slippery materials in place.

  4. Tie in a small bunch of pearl Crystal Flash (same length). On top of that tie in a small bunch of the green synthetic hair.

  5. The final touch is a small bunch of the green/black Crystal Flash. Tie this in on the top to imitate the dark back of the Sardina.

  6. By now you should have a relatively large, nicely formed smooth head. Whip finish and add a drop of super glue to hold it all together.

  7. When the super glue is dry, mix a small amount of 5-minute epoxy. Coat the entire head and the part of the body that is between the head and the hook bend with the epoxy. Use a generous amount but turn the fly in the vise constantly to ensure an even distribution. Pause during the turning process and grab the end of the body material and pull directly rearward; this gives the body a slender, sleek appearance as the epoxy dries. Alternate pulling and turning for about 4 or 5 minutes.

  8. When the first coat is almost completely dry (still a bit tacky) stick on the eyes, making sure that they are placed in identical positions on either side of the head. Put pressure on them by squeezing with your thumb and forefinger.

  9. Using a red Sharpie, make a vertical mark just behind the eyes to represent gills.

  10. Apply another coat of epoxy; this coat should be lighter than the first, but should thoroughly cover the eyes and all of the rest of the area covered by the first coat.

  11. Be sure to turn the fly in your vise or on a fly turner so ensure an even distribution of the epoxy.

  12. When the final coat is dry, taper the ends of the body so that it looks like a swimming baitfish.

Tie this dude on a stout leader, cast it to your favorite saltwater species, and hold on!


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