I answered the phone and a frenzied voice said, “it’s gonna be a blood bath!” It took me a minute to realize that it was a longtime fly-fishing buddy on the end of the line, confirming our first offshore trip of the season. There was no need for further discussion.
As we set out I couldn’t help but think that it had been too long since my last trip offshore. The smell of diesel fuel and thawing bait was almost welcome. I had started preparing for this trip during the winter when, in the tying frenzy that usually accompanies a big snowstorm, I began devising a fly pattern that would be effective on these early-season bluefin. From the onset there was no doubt that, since they’re such an important part of any pelagic species’ diet, a squid pattern was in order. It needed to be something with a lot of flash that could push water similar to the way most surface trolling lures do. After that, the pattern fell together without a lot of experimentation. The first flies I developed were pink and purple, chartreuse and blue and I tied one in pearl. All color combinations proved deadly on bass and bluefish in Rhode Island. In fact, the pattern produced a 36-inch striper the very first time it hit the water.
We left the dock that day armed with PTW (Pass the Wasabi) Squids in the colors above, plus some in pink and pearl and blue and pearl. Our plan was to troll around until we found a school of bluefin and then try to keep them at the boat by chunking bait as we cast the new fly at them. It didn’t take long to hook fish, but it wasn’t until our third hookup that we actually got one to the boat. When it got close enough we noticed it had company. I watched as my first cast flopped onto the water about 40 feet behind us. I had just started to strip when a small bluefin heading almost directly away from me turned and grabbed the fly. There was no need to set the hook. I cleared my line and watched in amazement as the fish made its first run about a foot below the surface and then disappeared from sight.
Most of the tuna we landed that day were in the 8- to 15-pound range and proved to be an absolute blast on a 10-weight rod.
|I’ve tied the PTW Squid in sizes #1 to 6/0 in the color combinations mentioned – you just have to adjust the size of the EZ Body to match the size of the hook (for a #1 hook, use a large EZ Body). This pattern is very easy to tie and has proven to be quite durable. Whether you use it on tuna or adapt it to another species, this fly is sure to drive fish – and anglers – into a frenzy.||_ MATERIALS _HOOK: 4/0 Gamakatsu SC-152H THREAD: Danville’s Monofilament Fine WEIGHT: 0.030 lead wire HEAD: 1/2-inch pearl EZ Body TAIL: Purple Fishair COLLAR: Pink Fishair EYES: 1/4-inch plastic eyes GLUE: Super Glue and Softex|
|Step 1: Wrap thread one-fourth of the way down the hook shank. At this point take 10 turns around the hook shank with lead wire and then wrap over it with thread, and glue to secure. Tie in a medium bunch of purple Fishair just behind the wraps of lead wire allowing it to extend about 4 to 5 inches past the bend of the hook, and secure with glue. Lightly coat the Fishair with Softex starting at the tie-in point, continuing to about 1 inch past the hook’s bend to keep the Fishair from fouling.|
|Step 2: Take a clump of pink Fishair similar in size to the amount of purple used in the previous step but slightly shorter in length and divide it into four equal portions. Tie in one bundle of pink Fishair directly on the top of the lead wire. It should extend about 2 inches past the hook’s bend. Repeat on both sides and the bottom, and glue thoroughly to secure.|
| | Step 3: Cut a 5-inch piece of EZ Body, slide it over the eye of the hook and tie it in just in front of the pink Fishair so that the open end of the tube faces the opposite direction from the Fishair. Tie off the braided material securely, whip-finish, cut the thread and glue to secure.|
| | Step 4: Push the EZ Body back over the shank of the hook and Fishair so that it folds over itself. Continue until the EZ Body is about even with the middle of the barb of the hook.|
| | Step 5: Tie off the EZ Body behind the eye of the hook and flatten ad adjust it to your liking. Trim off the EZ Body in front of the hook’s eye and remove the excess. Wrap over it with thread, tie off and glue to secure. For the eyes add a drop of glue to the back of two plastic eyes and place one on each side of the pink Fishair just past the bend in the hook. Push them down until they touch the purple Fishair underneath.|