BlogDecember 2019

The 7 All-Around Best Saltwater Flies

The 7 All-Around Best Saltwater Flies

By Alycia Downs

Dec 23, 2019

The seven best saltwater flies. When targeting the world’s most respected game fish in saltwater fly fishing, you’ll need these in your arsenal.

A difficult task it would be for a fly fisherman to narrow down their best saltwater flies to only a few. Granted, some might hint they have a trusty pattern for every species and they know the precise scenarios in which to deploy them.

Saltwater fly fishing offers endless opportunities to target the world’s most respected game fish such as tarpon, snook, striped bass, redfish, permit, and bonefish. If you’re hoping for a chance to hook up, you’ll need to stack your fly box with a fish-dazzling lineup of the best saltwater flies. Here are seven you’ll want in your arsenal.

1. Lefty’s Deceiver.

Invented by angling legend “Lefty” Kreh, the Deceiver is a streamer designed to imitate baitfish and is undoubtedly the most prolific pattern in saltwater fly fishing.

2. Clouser Deep Minnow.

Originally invented by Bob Clouser as a freshwater fly, the clouser minnow is a versatile fly that is simple, yet effective. Characterized by dumbbell eyes and a bucktail body, color selection is often influenced by target species or angler’s intuition.

3. Woolly Bugger.

The Woolly Bugger is tied to imitate baits such as immature insects, crayfish, minnows, and leeches. It’s a wet fly fished under the water and arguably a go-to among both freshwater and saltwater pursuits.

4. Crab Fly.

Crab patterns come in all sizes, colors, and funky names and are easily identified by their crab-like resemblance. Many saltwater species can’t resist a tasty crab, making this a highly effective choice.

5. Gurgler.

A foam body with a long tail, this fly generates a “gurgling” sound when stripped along the surface.

6. Seaducer.

With a name coined by the legendary Chico Fernandez, you know it must be good. The oversized head is intended to mock a crustacean or baitfish, but can be tied in a variety of colors and patterns to imitate a crab or shrimp.

7. Marabou Muddler.

The perfect deepwater fly for saltwater fishing. It’s large profile absorbs water and slowly sinks, while the shape of its head cuts through the water with finesse.

Depending on who you talk to about the best saltwater flies, you might get different answers, but chances are, these seven will always be near the top. Don’t forget to get your fishing license before hitting the water.

Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs is a freelance content creator and avid sportsman who contributes to numerous publications promoting tourism, fishing, and outdoors. Alycia is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and is actively involved with conservation and fishing non-profit organizations. Visit her personal blog at or on Instagram @tideandtale.