[by Dave Klausmeyer]
SPRING HAS ARRIVED, and striped bass, bluefish, and other favorite saltwater species will be migrating up the East Coast, offering some of the season’s best fishing. Patterns like the Major Herring are your ticket to some fast fly fishing action.
The trouble with tying a tall, full-bodied fly such as the Major Herring is creating a fly that does not lose its profile when fishing. On an ill-conceived pattern, the soft feathers and furs collapse around the hook when drawing the fly through the water. A simple solution is to tie a few strands of bucktail to the top of the fly as an underwing, and then place other materials, such as Polar Fibre, on top. The bucktail holds the wing up, maintaining the tall silhouette of a real herring.
I have fished for striped bass busting into schools of herring. When they are keying in to this bait, the fish easily mistake a well-made fly for the real bait. Fish a pattern such as Kintz’s Major Herring using a line with a sinking tip. Since the fish are feeding aggressively, they are not leader shy; a 15-pound-test tippet will not dissuade the bass from striking. And since you are using a sinking tip, the leader needs to be only four to five feet in length.
David Klausmeyer is the editor of our sister publication, Fly Tyer magazine. For more information, check out www.flytyer.com.