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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was just asked for a "few patterns" to get started with and, as usual, got carried away (and the format of the request wouldn't allow enough space... ) so here it is for anyone wanting to make a start tying their own flies...

At any rate -here's a couple of patterns that have wide application... The first is universal wherever fish are eating baitfish in waters from a couple of feet all the down to ten feet or deeper and it has endless variations... Every one simply calls it a clouser (based on Bob Clouser's original Deep Minnow meant for smallmouth bass - all those years ago..).

This is my own "Whitewater clouser" on a 2/0 hook with large beadchain eyes - note the wire weedguard... It's meant for working shorelines with heavy mangrove jungle and you're "beating the bushes" constantly hitting structure with your fly, allowing it to sink next to a log, downed tree, oyster bar or just around the roots of mangrove - then stripping it back to you (reds, snook, trout, and lots of other species...).

This is the Peacock clouser, on a #4 hook meant for peacock bass in local canals... and much more like the original Clouser..

this is my own Bonefish clouser, done up on a #4 hook (mustad 34007 hook on all of what I'm showing...). I did this for many years filling orders for local fly shops in a variety of colors from a #2 hook all the way down to a #6... Very simple pattern that really works on bonefish (if you can find them...).

This next pattern is my go to for any situation where we're fishing shallow and need a baitfish patterns that suspends at rest and can be fished really shallow... it's an all saddle hackle pattern (six for the tail, three for the palmered body - and it will work anywhere in the world where predators hunt baitfish up shallow. It's my version of Chico Fernandez's famous Seaducer pattern. The one shown is on a #1 hook but I've fished it as large as a 3/0 and as small as a #4 in every color under the sun... and all with a wire weedguard...


Hope this gets you started...
 

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For every new fly tyer, I suggest to start with two patterns - the two that Bob mentioned above. If you learn the Clouser and the seaducer/wooly bugger, the skill from those two patterns will cover 90% of all patterns.

From there, focus on profile, proportions, and ratios.
 

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Very nice. The Clouser is also the first I recommend to friends when they want to give this a go and for the same reasons you cite.
My second fly is Ray 's Fly, which is my Go-To for my home waters.
 

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A Shminnow is a ridiculously easy tie and catches lots of fish. First time I saw one for sale I couldn’t believe they were getting 5 bucks for a no-hackle Wooly Bugger. I tie them by the dozen now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That Schminnow is a great pattern - and another one for a beginning tyer to tackle... Here's my version of Norm's famous pattern - it's our go to pattern for baby tarpon (fish less than 10lbs ) in the backcountry of the 'glades.... Of course mine will all have wire weedguards...

This one is done up on a Mustad 34007 #4 hook. When I was tying for shops I filled many, many orders for them in sizes from a #6 up to a 1/0... in a variety of colors but I mostly just hand a pearl and white one (as shown) to my anglers when we're not tossing popping bugs at the babies...
 

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A quick note… One of the noticeable features of old tyers like myself is that we tend to use mostly natural materials while younger tyers
All learned with synthetic materials…
Today’s tyers have a bit of an advantage in that newer synthetic materials, hooks, threads, glues, and tying techniques are in many cases, superior and more durable than they were in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They’re very much better than they were years ago, but…. most synthetics are nowhere near as good as natural materials in the water.

The big difficulty with natural feathers these days is finding good quality in the larger feathers saltwater water tyers need.. China has always been the source for good quality strung saddles and neck feathers but much of that began to disappear after SARS ( and other “bird flus”) appeared long before the pandemic came our way.
I actually am lucky enough to have these kinds of feathers still in hand (some of my supplies are nearly forty years old now….).

They’ll get used up quickly if I ever take up tying for shops again.
 
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