SIX ESSENTIAL FLIES FOR THE COAST

By Henrik Larsson, Guideline HQ Sweden

 

The season for searun brown trout is in full swing at the moment, and as always the discussions run high on the subject; which are the most important flies? There are as many answers as there are anglers out there, but even if we at Guideline sell many nice saltwater and coastal flies my personal belief run on more things than the fly pattern. Things like fishing area, tide & moon phase, time of day, wind direction, depth and retrieve I find more important than the actual fly. But in the end the fly is what the trout must commit to, so it has to be in the right ballpark when it comes to how it looks and behave.

 

But instead of having hundreds of different patterns in my box, I have a set of general main types to cover the six most important food source in the coastal regions of Scandinavia. And when we discuss fly patterns there is one thing that in a way is the most important factor; you need to believe in the fly at the end of the leader. If you have the fait and fish it well, register every bump, alter your retrieve speed, cover the water and so on, you will succeed. And the beauty of the six general groups is that you can put your own personal favorite in each category.

   

   

Choose the right fly

But even if I have a box of great flies, how do I pick & choose the right one? Well, ultimately this comes down to some different factors where food source and water temp & clarity is the most important ones. With food source I mean that if you see active fish feeding on rag worms or small shiny baitfish, then you choose a fly that represent the bait as close as possible. With the ’right’ fly in an are with plenty of bait you can experience that the fish still do not take your fly due to lots of real food around. Then you need to be creative and try to imitate the moving patterns and speed of the real prey, or go the opposite way and fish the fly in a totally irrational way. Only way to know is to try different retrives and see what happens. The big, main ways to choose a fly is; - If the water is cold, colored or you have a cloudy sky with a surface broken by wind - the fly can be bigger and/or brighter in color. - If the water is low, clear and surface is flat - choose a smaller fly in dull colors and use a longer, thinner leader.

Two-fly rig

For me the best way to find the right fly and to cover more patterns is to use a 2-fly rig on the coast. I normally use a bigger, brighter fly at the end of the leader, and a smaller and more discreet fly as a dropper some 50-70 cm up from the end fly. With this setup the fish has two different options to strike, and the big fly also generate some more visuality and ´draw´ the fish to the rig from a longer distance. To get less tangles and problems with a setup like this; keep the dropper leader short (8-12 cm) and do not push your casting abilities to the max - instead cast a little shorter and strive to straighten the leader at every cast.

All the way to your rodtip

It is crazy how often coastal season browns cruise the shallow water near the shore in search of prey. When you start at a new place; fish the water near you carefully before you wade out and make longer casts. When the fish are a picky they also have a tendency to follow the fly without taking it. So have a pair of polarizing glasses on, and fish the fly all the way in every time so you see if you have fish following. A quick move with the rodtip or added speed in front of your feet often result in a strike.

So here we go. The flies shown below are good examples of the main groups of bait, and if you have each pattern in some different sizes you will be well prepared for a season on the coast.

 

The shrimp

Who does not like shrimp? This is a very common food source for season browns, especially when the water temp goes up a little. The number of patterns are huge, but the big eyes are the most profilic detail.

Runar's CDC Reke - Tan #6
Buy
4.20 EUR
100+
Pattegrisen Grey
Pick
5.20 EUR
100+

The shiny baitfish

Shiny baitfish like herring is a very important prey for bigger trout, and fished on a sinking line on deeper water this can generate the largest fish of the season.

Herring Zonker #4
Buy
4.20 EUR
100+
Runar's Deceiver - Brown/Olive #4
4.20 EUR

The dull baitfish

Lots of baitfish are bottom dwellers and live near or in weed and kelp. Those fish often have a brownish dull camouflage and a broader, flat body profile.

Stickleback Zonker #4
4.20 EUR
Midi Zonker Golden Brown 6cm
4.20 EUR

The worm

Worms are one of the most common bait in the ocean, from big slow rag worms during spring to the small and fast clam worms hatching at night during high summer.

Børstemark - Black
Buy
7.29 EUR
100+
Suck On This Black
Pick
4.20 EUR
100+

The small curved

The small gammarus style flies are a must to have in the box, and they can be the key to tricky fish in clear, flat water. Also doubles as tiny dropper flies on picky fish.

UV Gammarus Olive #8
Buy
3.11 EUR
100+
Kobberbassen
Pick
3.11 EUR
100+

The Hi-viz

Some days the water is cold and the wind is stirring up the soft bottom in shallow bays. Then you need some patterns where the colors cut through the murky water and the fish can see it. Those flies also doubles up as late season flies when the fish are heading for the rivers and are keen on brighter offerings in orange and red.

GTI Juletre #4
4.20 EUR
Mickey Finn Zonker #4
Buy
4.20 EUR
100+