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Top 5 Sand Eel Fly Patterns For Striped Bass

During the late summer here in Maine, we usually start to see more and more sand eels (or sandeels) in and along the beaches, flats, and estuaries. Clinging together in nervous schools, these baitfish hang along the edges of surf awaiting their next move during the late fall. When you start to see more of these schools hanging around your feet while you are fishing, try one of our favorite fly patterns to get that bite:

1. Hellfire Flies NE Surf Sandeel (popper):

When schools of bass, false albacore, bonito, and others key in on sand eels, they will dart and slash while feeding. This tends to create a fair amount of stunned, injured, or dead bait on the surface. Try fishing a popper to imitate this situation and I think you'll be surprised. Check out the NE Surf Sandeel HERE

2. Surf Candy

It would be hard to find a striped bass or false albie fly angler without a surf candy in their fly box. One of my first experiences catching stripers on fly was casting a surf candy along the waves at a local beach in late summer. Especially effective if fished on an intermediate line along beaches and the edges of the surf, this tried and true pattern is covered in UV resin to help it cut through the waves quickly and into the strike zone. The one shown here is tied additionally with Popovics' Tuffleye Fleye Foils (seen HERE). Check out the Surf Candy HERE

3. Flatwing 

The movement that waves gives to flatwing feathers is hard to copy. A smaller sized flatwing fly can be a great pattern as well for sand eels. But further, mackerel also tend to feed on sandeels and if this is the case, you have a pattern that can appeal to a larger bass looking for that distracted mackerel! Check out the Flatwing HERE

4. Clouser

Nothing is more synonymous with striped bass fly fishing than a clouser. But, if you are fishing shallow areas such as flats, beaches, and estuaries, a properly weighted clouser can be your best friend. Not only will they fish with the hook up so you wont get hung up on the bottom, but they also present a great imitation to a sand eel that is trying to burrow in the sand. Check out clousers HERE

5. RIO's Pipe Eel

Using mostly synthetic material, the Pipe Eel is tied to give those perfect green-ish hues in the water. A lightweight fly with a slim profile, it's a great option for late season fishing. Check out the Pipe Eel HERE

 

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