Get Your Hook Up!

Get Your Hook Up!
My three favorite flies. Top to bottom: Sommerlatte’s Spoonfly, Sommerlatte’s Shrimp Slider, Sommerlatte’s Flats Critter.

Way back in the day when I first started writing for this publication, I basically asked that all of you (the readers) occasionally send me ideas for stories. Well this month I'm gonna fill one of those requests – What are your favorite redfish flies and why? 

First and foremost, I most definitely have a list of favorite flies, but for the sake of this article I'm going to limit it to what I consider my three absolute favorites. But before I do, I will tell you the most important characteristic of each is that they all ride in “hook up” orientation when being presented to a fish.

Now this may not seem like that big of deal considering most flies tied for flats fishing, at least species that feed primarily on bottom – redfish, bonefish, and permit – are almost always designed to ride hook up. The trouble lies in the words, almost always.  

You see, I have had fly rods designed as 7-weights that cast an 8-weight or even a 9-weight line better. And I’ve been in boats that were designed to pole quietly into the wind but were louder than hell. I think you get the point.

So the reason I am choosing the three flies below is that they are my go-to flies for at least 80-percent of my redfishing and I have caught numerous other flats and back-county species on them. What makes them so special is that not only are designed to ride hook up – they ALWAYS do. The reason for this is that each hook is bent and/or there is additional weight strategically placed within the fly to insure it always does.

Sommerlatte's Spoonfly

When I set out to create my spoonfly, I had only one goal in mind. Create a smaller spoon than all those available, and one that was actually tied to a hook rather than just being glued to it. 

What makes it special is that it is remarkably weedless and does not spin up light leaders when casting, as so many others on the market are prone to do. 

Wapsi 1/4-inch Flexi-Cord
Size 2-1/0 bendable hook
18 pound Knot 2 Kinky titanium wire for weed guard

Sommerlatte’s Shrimp Slider

Now for my favorite redfish fly of all time, the Shrimp Slider. You want to talk about the accident of all accidents in the world of fly tying. By the way – I have been called a mad scientist when I sit down at the vise and, call me crazy, but I find it flattering. And, in my mind, especially when the jar of rye is nearby, I find it to be true. This fly is a prime example of my insanity at the vise.

So I mentioned my spoonfly above, this one quite accidently morphed out of an attempt to create a soft spoonfly made of yarn and ended up becoming the Shrimp Slider. Yep, you heard right, a spoonfly made of yarn. Talk about an accident at the vise. LOL.

Anyway, what makes this thing so damned great is that it is remarkably weedless with no weedguard, and it has an incredible action that cannot be described.

Rug Yarn (Aunt Lydia’s if you can still find it)
Extra Select Craft Fur
Coyote tail
Ice/Crystal Chenille
Bendable hook
Lead Wire

Sommerlatte's Flats Critter

Now the Flats Critter is interesting in that it was created strictly because I had a fresh package of experimental materials from EP Flies and the weather was horrible. The secret ingredients to cook this one up was the EP Flies Wooly Critter brush and a jar of rye. 

I was looking for a small, unassuming, soft-landing pattern that would ride hook up, that I could fish equally well both shallow or deep. I could not have been more pleased.

EP Flies Wooly Critter Brush
Arctic Fox
Size 2-1/0 Bendable Hook 
Bead-chain or lead dumbbell eyes 

Now before I leave the keyboard I want to remind you that each of these flies requires a bend in the hook. In the past I always used a Mustad 34007 stainless wire hook. I have a huge stash of these but you might have a hard time finding them. The Mustad 3407 is often a suitable replacement as are many other hooks. I have had decent luck bending Gamakatsu SL12s and a few others. My best advice is to avoid forged hooks, if you can.

Hope I’ve given you something to put to good use, and also hope you get to give a few fish a toothache!