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Mullet Fly
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Mullet Fly
By Captain Doug Sinclair

I think it was Dick Catherwood who recorded a Sand Perch fly in Lefty Kreh's book on Saltwater Flies. I'm not sure who is credited with the original design. It's been sliced and diced a number of different ways. I've experimented with this fly for years. Just when you think it works best one way, you make a slight change and the new one works better. All this past winter I made a mullet fly that has a green body and red head.

Snook could not resist this fly. It didn't matter if they were big snook or small snook. They just went crazy after this fly. I can't tell you the reason - but color has to be a factor. We tried combinations of green/white, yellow/green, yellow/red, white/red, tan/red, tan/blue, and green/red. The green/red worked 100 percent of the time and not even a bump on the others. The flies were tied exactly the same way.

Go figure. What does a snook see? I'm a fish and I'm looking up seeing a silhouette on the surface. Can a snook see green and a red head? I can't figure this out and it probably doesn't matter. What matters is that snook seem to like this color now. Last year it was a tan mullet fly. We were so positive that the Tomoka Mullet (named by Ken Bay) was the perfect color combination that I made up dozens of them. Now they work great in Spruce Creek or Ponce Inlet for Jacks and Bluefish, but the snook won't even look at them. Even JB Cook, a guide out of Satellite Beach wrote me this note:

"I wanted to say thanks again for the flies you gave me. I had to make Rodney (Smith) give them up long enough to catch 8 snook to 12 lbs. along with some dinkish trout and a bluefish last Saturday morning on a charter! The finger mullet was the ticket. It was the morning after our first REAL rain. The creeks were full to flow and flush out baitfish that would not normally be on the move. This is one of my favorite times of the year, in my beloved snook spots. Needless to say my charter from California was stoked with his catch. The 12-pounder hit on his first cast!!! This was one of my better producing charters. Thought you might like to know that the finger mullet fly is on his last leg!!! Poor thing...."
But not this year. The old tan mullet fly has been replaced by the Little Redhead. The tying directions are exactly the same though. This is a classic fly and easy to tie. Here is how I tie the green-redheaded mullet.

Recipe Mullet Fly

Hook:   Mustad #34007 (1/0 or 2/0).

Head:   Deer Hair (Green), I use 3-4 clumps of Red at the end to the hook eye.

Thread:  Size G Gray thread, except at the end I whip finish with red G thread.

Tail:  Tan or Green Saddle Hackle (1 inches). Tie in six strands of pearl, ice or teal Krystal flash..

Body:  Deer Hair (Green). I stack the hair more tightly than shown in the picture. The looser the stack, the more air/water mixture in the retrieve.

Tying Steps:

1. Start by tying off a small section of thread in front of the bend and then to the curve of the shank. I tie in a small clump of tan marabou or Bucktail. Then tie in four pieces of saddle hackle (two each side, curve out). Next tie six strands of Krystal flash.

2. Take a clump (pencil thickness) of deer hair and hold it parallel and on top of the hook shank. Now make two loose turns of the thread, pinching it into your thumb so that you can pull down with the bobbin to tighten the loop. By doing this and applying even pressure you can spin/stack the deer hair firmly and quickly. Lay in two more clumps, making two thread wraps in front. Using your thumb and index finger push the clumps together snuggly. Continue stacking and pushing the clumps together until you reach the hook eye. Whip finish the end and put a drop of head cement on the thread.

3. Now you are looking at the most ugly fly you've ever tied. The final step is the haircut. First, trim the bottom flat from the hook eye to inside the bend below the hook.

4. Use a razor blade or scissors. Be careful. Shave a flat spot about 3/8 to inch wide (this is the part that moves across the top of the water). Next trim the hair from the hook eye back. Cut away small sections of hair, trimming to make the uniform shape of the fly. Sometimes I'll cut back only to within 1/8 inch of the hackles so that the fly will have a section of standing hair. You can see this in Ol'Yeller or Pigfish fly below.


This moves a lot of water and makes a lot of noise in the water. The best retrieve is a quick short tug and then let the fly settle back up on the water surface and then strip again. This produces a nice action on the water similar to a Mirro-Lure Pup Jr.

Another combination to try is Orange/Red/Black. Glen Lau (Big Mouth Forever legend) and I traded some flies. He made a hair bug with a small, small collar. So I took his idea and tied to an orange/black top dog. Redfish can't resist this in brackish waters. So there you have it a couple of modifications and we are rocking and rolling with some new/old flies. Have a ball and go fool some fish. ~ Doug

About Doug:

Doug is a USCG Licensed Captain and fly-fishing guide from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, a member of CCA, FFF, AFF, APCA, and FOWA. And a Sponsor of Fly Anglers OnLine. He can be reached at 386-679-5814.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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