Bailey Squid

Nearly all game fish throughout the world feed on squid. It is one of the most common baits in the oceans. Along the East Coast squid are a staple in the diet of striped bass, weakfish, blues, drum, even fluke (summer flounder).

This fly is designed to imitate a squid while at the same time maintaining an aerodynamic shape to help cast it further. It fulfills these requirements very effectively! The large eye is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of a squid and is very important to this pattern.

Squid naturally come into more shallow waters at night to feed. Bass and other game fish anticipate this so I most often fish the fly at night. I normally fish the fly on an intermediate line using a moderately quick strip-pause-strip retrieve. This simulates the movement of a squid darting to avoid predators. It can also be fished during daylight in deeper waters using a fast sinking line such as a Teeny head. In this case a more steady retrieve simulates the swimming action of a cruising squid. The fly is highly effective both in the spring and fall. Bass and other game fish will often attack this fly with reckless abandon even when squid are not the primary bait in the area.

Materials

  • Hook: Mustad 34007SS size 3/0
  • Tail: White saddle hackle approximately 4" long (preferably curved)
  • Flash: White Krystal Flash
  • Body: Medium or heavy white chenille
  • Eyes: 10mm doll eyes
  • Markers: Permanent markers in black, green and yellow (yellow optional)
  • Thread: Flat wax white
  • Misc: 1-minute epoxy, 5-minute epoxy, fly head cement

Tying instructions

  1. Select 4 white hackles and remove the marabou.
  2. Place the hackles on a sheet of paper or paper plate. Apply 4 to 6 dots from each colored marker randomly on the curved-out side (concave side) of each hackle.
  3. Set the hackles into two pairs of feathers. Tie the hackles to the hook at the bend, one pair on either side of the shank. Arrange the feathers so the pair of hackles curves away from each other and thus away from the hook shank (tarpon style).
  4. Tie 8 to 10 long (4" to 6") strands of white Krystal flash to the hook at the bend. Arrange the Krystal flash so some of the strands lay along the outsides of the hackles as well as straight down the middle between the pairs of feathers.
  5. Work the thread forward to the eye of the hook and anchor a piece of white chenille approximately 6" long to the shank behind the hook eye.
  6. Build up the fly’s body by wrapping the shank completely with the chenille. First wrap backwards towards the bend then forward again to behind the hook eye to build up bulk.
  7. Secure the chenille behind the hook eye and trim any excess. Whip finish the thread and coat the wraps thoroughly with head cement.
  8. Use 1-minute epoxy to attach a single doll eye to both sides of the fly body at the bend of the fly just in front of where the hackles are attached. Try to evenly align the eyes on both sides of the body with each other. Hold the eyes in place until the epoxy sets completely.
  9. After the 1-minute epoxy has set, use the 5-minute epoxy to fill in the spaces around the doll eyes and the body thus ensuring the eyes are completely secured to the fly. Do not cover the eyes with the epoxy! Only fill in the area around the eyes.
  10. Place the fly in a drying rotor to allow the 5-minute epoxy to set evenly. Done!

NOTE: This fly can also be tied in a red version. Substitute red thread, Krystal Flash and chenille; Use red dyed grizzly hackle and skip step #2 (no spots).