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carpflyguy

Big Bunker Flies

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I'm not much of a saltwater fly fisher these days, but I have a buddy who loves to fish striped bass around bunker schools and he wants some bigger flies to try out next season. Big being 12-14", really large profile flies.

I don't have much experience tying in these sizes. I've browsed around, but was hoping that some of you may have some pictures to share for inspiration or recommendations for materials that will remain castable. Yak, and some of the synthetic alternatives seem to be most commonly used from what I can tell.

I've been reading about Mark Sedotti's mass-balanced flies, and how adding a certain amount of extra weight (in the form of lead wire) will actually improve castability significantly, even with flies up to 20". Has anyone ever experimented with Sedotti's Slammer style flies tied this way? 

Thanks in advance. This is not a style of tying I know much about, so I'm just hoping to get a little inspiration and maybe recommendations on patterns from the forum. Would love to see some bunker fly pics if anyone here ties big ones! Anything helps! 

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That's a big fly.  Hope he has a heavy duty fly rod for it.   I tie bunker flies but most of mine are under 5 inches.  The big bunker show up in South Jersey, usually the mid to end of May.  I usually don't hit the salt until the fall, when the peanut bunker start moving out of the back bays and inlets.  Here's a smaller bunker pattern, about 5 inches, tied out of Mirror Image.

1308996404_SiliconeBunker_Shad.jpg.c3243bec6877c7f4d485d2825b476460.jpg

 

I did make one attempt to make a large bunker fly for the May run many years ago.  I tied it as a tube fly using Mirror Image.  It ended up about 11 inches long.  Here's what it looked like.

684367576_TubeFlyShad.jpg.0e0b486418835ca41e1af8245b913533.jpg

Here are the front and back pieces.

875133943_TubeShadFrontandBack(2).jpg.976ab38a2e4fd2fa15ee9fe1a6e4f938.jpg

That said I never did fish it.   I test cast it with my 8 wgt, which is the heaviest rod I own, and was able to chuck and duck it about 25 feet.  Later I turned the back piece into a smaller bunker fly, and scavenged as much of the material from the front for other patterns.

One pattern you might want to look at is Bob Popovics' Hollow Fleye.  With a long shank hook, 4/0 or 5/0 you should be able to get  at least a 10 inch fly.  A couple more of his patterns you might want to look at are his Beast Fleye or his Cotton Candy Fleye.   All of them can be tied to imitate large bunker.  He uses mainly buck tail when he ties them but other materials can be used.   Good Luck. 

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