The idea for this eel pattern came to me in the winter of 2003 after attending the Fly Fishing Show in Marlboro, Massachusetts. Dave Skok, one of the most innovative tiers in the Northeast, was featured, and I am always interested to see his latest creations. At the time, Dave was experimenting with large bunker and herring patterns, using synthetic wig hair. I liked his ideas, and after returning home I located and purchased the same type of hair in several different shades.
I tied a number of his patterns, then realized I hadn’t used any of the black hair. Having never seen a black bunker, I thought I should go in another direction. The only black-colored baitfish that came to mind was the American eel, a popular prey item for trophy striped bass.
After several attempts using some of Dave’s methods, I came up with a pattern resembling a 10- to 12-inch-long eel. One unique feature of this fly (when tied correctly) is that it has a round shape like a real eel. When this fly is retrieved, the flash material creates the illusion of a swimming eel. It serves as an excellent pattern during daylight hours for large striped bass, is fairly light and is not too difficult to cast.
I found the wig hair at a local beauty-supply store; it comes in 3- to 4-foot lengths. To keep it manageable, I use elastic bands to hold the sections together, then cut them into 12-inch lengths.
Hook:** 2/0 to 4/0 TMC 600SP
Thread: Clear mono, size fine
Body support: Clear Ultra or Super Hair
Belly: Light tan synthetic wig hair
Body: Black synthetic wig hair
Flash: **Mega Mushy in gold, kelly green, purple and lavender
**Eyes: 1/4-inch yellow 3-D
Cement: Marine Goop for the eyes, Softex for the Ultra Hair and head cement for the wraps.**
Step 1**: Cut approximately 20 strands of Super or Ultra Hair and tie in right behind the eye of the hook. Trim the tail until it comes to a point.
Step 2**: Take about 30 or 40 strands of light tan or dirty-blonde hair and add eight to 10 strands of gold Mega Mushy flash. Lay the flash on top of the hair, pull both materials in bunches, and place them on top of the original material. Continue until each end tapers to a point. The total length of the hair should be 14 to 16 inches. Fold the material in half, bringing the two points together. Cut out the fold so that you have a bunch approximately 6 inches long, then tie below the hook shank.
Step 3**: Take a clump of black hair so that when you pinch it between your finger tips, it is about 1/8 inch in diameter. Lay this on your lap and add 10 to 12 strands of each color of Mega Mushy flash in gold, kelly green, lavender and purple. Blend the flash and the hair together the same way you did the belly. When tapered correctly, the material should be about 20 inches from tip to tip. Remember you started with a 12-inch-long bunch. Fold this in half and cut it. You should have enough for two 10-inch flies.
Step 4**: Coat the Ultra Hair with a liberal amount of Softex so that the interiors of the three materials will adhere somewhat. This will stiffen the spine and help keep the shape. Tie in the black hair and press it down on the Ultra Hair, covering the edges of the belly material. Press the belly and the back together so they come in contact with the Ultra Hair. Complete the wrap and coat with head cement.
Step 5: Apply a drop of Goop to the back of a yellow 1/4-inch 3-D eye and press firmly onto the head.