Eyes on the flies!

BigVernBigVern Posts: 171 Deckhand
Hi folks.

As I sit here in the sunny Uk, watching the snow fall outside the window, my mind wanders to the Gulf coast of Anna Maria Island and the impending summer trip!! Tying flies is on my mind and I thank everyone for their help so far! 

So so to my question - eyes on the fly, a must to replicate the bait, or added cost and fiddling whilst tying to look good to me?

Thoughts and experiences please!

Tight lines!



  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,290 Captain
    If you can figure out a way to add eyes to any fly without ruining it's action, etc. -give it a go... Most that I know believe that eyes greatly enhance the action any fly will generate.. Lots of different ways to go about it as well....

    Here's one or two examples

    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,322 Captain
    Your fly. Your rules. It only matters when it effects your confidence in my opinion. That being said, 99.9% of my flies have eves of some kind. Sometimes after a few fish I'll lose an eye or two, as long as the hook is in good shape, the fly stays on.
  • Randy RichterRandy Richter Posts: 26 Greenhorn
    Personally, I think eyes are a big deal.  A lot of times, when you see baitfish in the water, the eye is the thing that stands out.  Most of my patterns have oversized eyes.
  • BigVernBigVern Posts: 171 Deckhand
    Thanks for your advice and I was hoping you would all say that!

    My baitfish patterns without eyes tend to stay in the box longer than those with! 

    Would you put put big eyes on the patterns, relative to the size of fly?

    Bob, in what way might the action be altered by the fly? Most of my tyings so far don’t appear to have too much action. Should I be trying to get more action in my flies?

     Thanks again and tight lines!

  • sunflowersunflower Posts: 491 Deckhand
    edited April 2018 #6
    I never tie flies with eyes. Any fly I throw that has eyes, I bought.

    I think silhouette and movement is 99% of the game. Color much less so.

    That said, Mark Sosin used to talk about how very important eyes were on every episode of Saltwater Journal. ""Eyes establish the relationship between the predator and the prey."

    grace finds goodness in everything ...

  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 4,513 Moderator
    If you ever do any diving, the eyes of a fish are the first thing you will notice.  It is the only perfect geometrical shape in the water.  Every fly deserves an eye
  • shadowwalkershadowwalker Posts: 2,200 Captain
    Eyes on fly's increase sales and I suspect the fish notice too. 
  • stc1993stc1993 Albany, GA Carrabelle, FLPosts: 5,491 Admiral
    If you can figure out a way to add eyes to any fly without ruining it's action, etc. -give it a go... Most that I know believe that eyes greatly enhance the action any fly will generate.. Lots of different ways to go about it as well....

    Here's one or two examples

    Some nice looking work there.  I'm not even a fly fisherman.  The ones in the pan look real good to me.  The feather looks like the vertebrae in a baitfish.  I guess that's what they're for.
  • BigVernBigVern Posts: 171 Deckhand
    Hi Mark. Thanks for your advice. Do you think the eyes take away the movement and alter the silhouette of the fly?

     Thanks again.

  • sunflowersunflower Posts: 491 Deckhand
    edited April 2018 #11
    I'm not great at putting eyes on flies, so the first thing is they get knocked off soon, anyway. I keep casting.
    The second is, yeah, they often add some degree of lopsidedness (not that that probably makes much difference- fish tend to move erratically anyway).
    I am a very functional fly-tier. I think most fly designs are created to hook anglers, not fish. All the incredibly-lifelike flies people spend hours tying are wonderful and pretty, but probably not any more effective.
    I catch thousands of fish on eyeless variants of Clousers, on rabbit-strips for tarpon, and Crazy Charlies and bonefish sliders. I almost never throw the sort of big-eyed mullet and pinfish flies like Pugliesi makes.
    As for "eyes being the first thing you see underwater" ... not so much. I am also an experienced spearfisher. Go onto Instagram and follow "Spearfishing-International." Underwater, the first part of fish you see is ... fish.
    I like tying flies, but I rarely spend more than ten minutes on any design.

    This is controversial, but I am also something of a fly purist. I like to fly fish with flies that are classic flies ... not small lures tied onto fly lines. 

    grace finds goodness in everything ...

  • BigVernBigVern Posts: 171 Deckhand
    Hi Mark, I guess the key thing here is confidence. If you think whatever you are casting will get eaten you are fishing expecting a take and react better to it! If you are not so sure you are fishing in hope and perhaps not quite as alert as you might be! I do a little salmon fishing here and over the last 5 years have probably only used 5 patterns. Thanks again and I will try and post some of the tyings when I get the chance!

    Tight lines 

  • sunflowersunflower Posts: 491 Deckhand
    Vern, I remember someone posting on here a few years ago that they never ever threw any fly but a pink Clouser. In various sizes. Other than tarpon and permit, I would be perfectly comfortable doing that. I basically throw high-tied Clousers 99% of the time. Various colors. Not for tarpon, not for permit.

    grace finds goodness in everything ...

  • tarpon41tarpon41 Posts: 209 Deckhand
    I do not tie. I buy. I concur in substance with 'Flower's suggestions based on my salt fly experience experience which is limited to Andros, Key Biscayne, Keys, mainly lower and west of Key West.  I do recall posting a White Clouser with variations of lead eyes and bead chain eyes; however,  I would suggest that the lead dumbbells, bright or painted, or bright bead chain on clousers or charlies imitate eyes.  The Tarpon flies that I am given are essentially a clouser pattern with or without small black, plastic eyes or an added rabbit strip. Not having fly-fished on FLA's west coast I can only say... on what I caught fish conventionally...live bait, pinfish, mutton minnows, salt catfish, and finger mullet, artificial, jigs tipped shrimp, Spooks, Mirrorlures my targets were Snook, Redfish and Tarpon.  My recollection of the most important variable(excluding tide) was presentation depth.  I suggest that you tie the same Clouser pattern with different sized lead dumbbells(bight and dull)  and/or bead chain and buy whatever Tarpon Fly works on Anna Marie.        
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