The 10 All-Around Best Saltwater Flies

The best saltwater flies are the ones that are small, easy to cast, and versatile.

There are hundreds of freshwater varieties of flies out there, but when it comes to saltwater flies, there are only a handful of great ones.

Here are my 10 favorites.

Best Saltwater Flies

The Deceiver is a great all-around fly with a little bit of everything. It’s tough, durable, and has a fun style.

Fishing Wire – When I think about my favorite flies, I often think about the color combination and design. Fishing Wire is a solid example of that. This wire-wrapped fly is a great all-rounder and makes a great starter fly.

Spider – I have a love-hate relationship with spiders, so this is my second favorite spider fly. The Spider has a great profile and works well on the surface and at the bottom.

Chub – I have many favorites, but Chub is my absolute favorite. The Chub is a classic saltwater fly. It’s a big profile fly that is easy to cast and a fun style to fish.

Green Eye – This is a classic saltwater fly that is a good example of a fly that doesn’t need too much attention. Green Eye is a small fly that has a big profile. It is one of my favorite styles of fly.

Pintail – I like the Pintail for the same reasons I like the Chub. It’s a classic saltwater fly that is easy to fish and casts well.

Mimic – I have a few other favorites but this Mimic is one of the best all-around saltwater flies I have ever fished. It’s one of the few flies that is equally effective fishing the surface and the bottom.

Mantis Shrimp – I think of the Mantis Shrimp as a saltwater fly, even though it is tied as a streamer. This is a great fly for fishing the surface and the bottom. It’s one of my favorite patterns.

Leeches – For some reason, I have a love-hate relationship with leeches. I always end up thinking they are ugly when I see one. I prefer them as an afterthought on the hook. This is one of my favorite saltwater fly patterns. 

Righty’s Deceiver – This is the same pattern as the righty, except the feathers on the top of the wing have been reversed. The top feathers are now orange and red, and the bottom feathers are blue and black.

Lefty’s Deceiver – This is the same pattern as the lefty, but instead of alternating colors on the top feathers, there is a solid orange/red feather on one side of the wing, and a solid blue/black feather on the other.

What Makes a Saltwater Fly Work?

As is with any fly design, there are three factors that must be addressed. These are attraction, imitation, and action. In the saltwater fly world, it’s a bit more complicated than in the freshwater world because of the salt.

However, by understanding these factors, you can create a fly that will catch fish.

Attractors: In the saltwater world, this means creating something that will entice fish to take the fly. This is often done through the use of color, patterns, or both. The most common forms of attractors are bucktail nymphs, beadheads, and streamers.

Imitations: Imitations are the imitation fly patterns that imitate the natural food items that fish eat. This includes things like ants, beetles, worms, and shrimp.

Action: Action is the main factor in determining how well a fly will work for a specific species of fish. Some fish have a highly sensitive sense of smell while others are not so sensitive. Some fish have eyes that can detect movement, some cannot.

Some fish will strike when they see a pattern or when a fly moves, others only when a fly lands on the water. For these reasons, the action of the fly is very important.

A good way to determine the best action is to use a weighted fly line. If the fly sinks fast, it probably needs more weight to make it sink faster. If the fly floats, then you’ve got a good imitation.

What are the best sea trout flies?

There are countless patterns for sea trout flies, but most of them are designed to imitate natural objects such as shrimp, worms, insects, and crustaceans.

However, most of these artificial imitations aren’t quite successful in catching sea trout.

What flies to use in muddy water?

It’s pretty common for flies to die in muddy water. Flies use water to absorb oxygen from the atmosphere, and when there’s not enough oxygen around, they die.

So, if your fly swatter is made of plastic, you may need to get a metal one. Plastic fly swatters also tend to crack easily, and a metal one can handle this better.

Saltwater baitfish fly patterns

For saltwater fishermen, baitfish flies are an integral piece of the puzzle in getting those big fish to bite.

And, because there are so many ways to fish, it’s easy to feel like you need to try them all, or at least, all of the ones you can find.

But where do you start?

Where can you get flies that work best for your style of fishing?

To help answer these questions, here are the 10 all-around best saltwater baitfish flies to start with. These flies are a great place to start when figuring out how to select and match patterns for your style of fishing.

1. Saltwater Tippet Nymph: The classic saltwater baitfish pattern.

2. Saltwater Zonker: A zonker is an artificial fly that imitates a natural insect. It usually comes with a hook, sinker, and treble hook.

3. Clouser: A Clouser is an artificial fly made of plastic or yarn. This fly looks like a minnow or crawfish.

4. Black and white Saltwater Hopper: A hopper is a patterned fly that resembles an insect’s head. This is a good fly for the surface.

5. Saltwater Caddis: A caddis fly is a small fly used to imitate a larva or maggot.

6. Saltwater Midge: Midges are small flies that look like mayflies.

7. Saltwater Worm: A worm is a fly that looks like a small fish.

8. Saltwater Mayfly: Mayflies are small flies that look like a small fly that moves up and down in the water.

9. Saltwater Spider: A spider is a fly that mimics an insect’s body with its legs. This pattern is best used for trolling and still fishing.

10. Saltwater Pupa: A pupa is an imitation of a small insect that has already emerged from its shell. 

Saltwater bass flies

  • Clouser Minnow.
  • Woolly Bugger.
  • Dahlberg Diver. 
  • Bass Popper.
  • Crayfish Patterns (Croffs’s Kickin Clyde).

Saltwater striper flies

  • Clouser Minnow.
  • Name Changer/Game Changer.
  • Smashmouth.
  • Mac’s GT Deceiver.
  • Razzle Dazzle.

Best Saltwater Flies Summary

I hope you enjoyed my post on the best saltwater flies list for all saltwater species.

Similar to, my best saltwater fly rod for the money reviews list these are the best saltwater flies for the money.

They are all very effective for baitcasting and spin casting. The size of hook size is perfect for the average angler. They will catch fish with ease.

However, they don’t work all the time, so if you want to be successful with them, you’ll need to use them in conjunction with other types of baits, like jerk baits, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, swimbaits, and soft plastic lures.

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