Thursday, June 21, 2012

A good fly is easy to tie and catches fish

Gibby's D.T. Variations are easy and quick to tie, plus they really appeal to snook in the surf.
A good fly is one that catches fish.

A good fly also is one that is easy and quick to tie.

I was surfing the Internet a year ago or so when I found a good-looking fly that I thought might work well on redfish. When I investigated further, I discovered there were 62 tying steps involved in tying that fly.

Too many for me!

My D.T. Variation, perhaps the best fly I’ve found for sight-fishing snook in the surf, is a classic example. It’s very easy to tie and it has accounted for several thousand snook over the years. There are only five tying steps and it takes only a few minutes to tie.

What more could you want?

Too many times, fly tyers get too complicated in their designs, trying to mimic baitfish, crabs, shrimp and other food to perfection. Exact imitation isn’t necessary or even desired in the salt.

Remember this adage: Hungry fish plus good presentation equals hookup.


I remember one winter when I discovered a shrimp pattern that I thought would be the cat’s meow for snook in the surf. It looked exactly like a live shrimp.

I spent a couple of weeks tying up a bunch and was sure I had the “magic fly.”

First time out, I was disheartened when snook after snook ignored the realistic pattern.

What I’ve discovered is that you really don’t want to give the snook (or any fish) time to study your fly. Let them see it, then try to get it away from them.

When sight-fishing snook in the surf, I’ll strip the fly in front of the fish. When the snook turns to follow, I’ll speed up the retrieve to trigger the strike. This is where most anglers slow their retrieve.

Big mistake.

Try to get that fly away from the snook. If the fish wants it, you can’t strip too fast.

I’ve spent the last 30 years sight-fishing snook in the surf and I’ve learned a thing or two. Your success is directly correlated to your ability to see the fish. If you can see them, you’ve got a chance to catch them.

When I first started beach snook fishing, I used Lefty’s Deceivers, one of the most-famous saltwater flies ever. However, Matt Hoover, a guide in Naples, Fla., sent me a well-used D.T. Special and said that “it’s the only fly you’ll ever need for snook in the surf.”

He was right.

I’ve tweaked the fly over the years to fit my needs, adding eyes, a touch of red and epoxying the head. My version is called Gibby’s D.T. Variation. I did not design or invent the original D.T. Special. I take no credit for that.

My D.T. Variation is a little tougher and lasts a little longer than the original D.T.

Both are effective flies for sight-fishing snook in the surf.

Best of all, they take little time to tie.


Hook: Mustad 34007 No. 1 to No. 4

Thead: White flat-waxed Monochord

Tail: Four white neck hackle (two on each side) facing (not splayed).

Flash: Pearl Krystal Flash

Collar: White neck hackle (palmered)

Eyes: 3D Prism Stick-On.

Epoxy: Devcon 2-Ton