4 Totally Creative Saltwater Fly Tying Patterns

By Debbie Hanson

Sep 02, 2016

From the use of UV dyes to the incorporation of unusual color combinations and materials, check out these four totally creative saltwater fly tying patterns and learn why they are particularly effective!

Photo credit Debbie Hanson

Saltwater fly tying patterns are most often designed to mimic the appearance and action of shrimp, crab or baitfish when worked through the water column. If you're new to the world of saltwater fly fishing, you may develop an initial interest in certain patterns based on appearance, but then find yourself becoming more intrigued with the theory behind the designs. From the use of UV dyes to the incorporation of unusual color combinations and materials, check out these five totally creative saltwater fly tying patterns and learn why they are particularly effective.

Drama Queen Shrimp 

When it comes to creative saltwater fly tying patterns, Drew Chicone's drama queen shrimp is worth investigating because of the UV reactive dye that is used to create the rubber legs. The UV dye gives this fly fishing lure a realistic translucent appearance when worked through the water column. When targeting bonefish or permit on the saltwater flats, this is one pattern that's quite likely to stir up some fly angling drama in the form of follows and strikes.
Photo credit Drew Chicone
Straw Boss 

While Joe Mahler originally created the Straw Boss for targeting largemouth bass in freshwater, he soon realized that his pattern was just as effective when targeting sea trout, redfish, snook, tarpon and crevalle jack in saltwater environments. The clever bucktail "wings" on this fly create a back-and-forth tilting motion as the fly settles in the water. The white-on-white color option is the most proven for species such as snook or sea trout; however, Mahler has also experienced success using a black and purple combination for juvenile tarpon.
Photo credit Drew Chicone

Dirty Squibbster

Avid fly angler Pete Squibb noticed that when the waters along the Florida beaches were churned up and dirty, his standard light patterns didn’t seem to do the best job at attracting snook. Using his Squibbster fly tying pattern as a base, he began experimenting with different color combinations and tying materials to produce a fly fishing lure that was more visible in dirty water. The end result was the Dirty Squibbster, which incorporates tan as a contrasting color.
Photo credit Drew Chicone

Crystal Schminnow 

Author and fly angler Norm Zeigler conceived this productive pattern while sight fishing for snook, but it has proven to be quite effective at catching juvenile tarpon and redfish as well. The Crystal Schminnow is named appropriately since it's intended to be a creative cross between a shrimp and a minnow. If you are interested in learning fly tying patterns, you may want to note that the Crystal Schminnow is a simple one to tie. As an added bonus, it can also be used in freshwater lakes when pursuing largemouth bass.

Photo credit Debbie Hanson

Before you tie or buy these flies and head out on the water for a day of fly fishing, don't forget to purchase your fishing license online and check the fishing regulations for your state.
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.