Weedless Baitfish Fly

Cast deep into cover confidently with this weedless baitfish imitation.

October 17, 2012
Tie the HPU Weedless Fly. Cast deep into cover confidently with this weedless baitfish imitation. John Frazier

About four years ago, fly-fishing innovator Fox Statler started tying flies on the extra-wide-gap (EWG) and worm hooks that are often used in fresh water. Tying in this style kept the fly hook-point-up, which decreased hang-ups. However, because the point of the hook was still exposed, hang-ups could still occur.

After I stared at a rubber worm on an EWG hook long enough, it dawned on me that I could tie a fly on a stiff piece of hard mono instead of a hook shank. I tied a few prototypes of the Hook Point Up Weedless Fly you see here and went fishing for snook in the mangroves of southwest Florida and caught the biggest snook of my life. I could cast this fly into cover and under and into mangroves, watch it sink and not need to withdraw it for fear of hanging up.

**From the Top **


To start, you will need to buy some offset worm or EWG hooks and a small spool of heavy, hard monofilament. You can tie a pattern of your own in this style, but you probably have the tying materials in your collection already for the fly described in this column. I use 80-pound hard Mason monofilament for the base of the fly. The strength-to-diameter ratio is not important, but the stiffness of the monofilament is. A longer distance between the point and the base of the hook requires a stiffer mono, while smaller hooks need a less-stiff mono.

For the tail of this pattern, I use marabou. When I push the fly down over the point of the hook, marabou passes through without any hesitation. I have used a variety of synthetic fibers and found that most of them tend to hang up slightly when passing over the point. Perhaps this does not matter with more powerful bites, but I am a fly-fisherman, so I want to increase my odds whenever I can. If I need longer fibers on top for greater length, I use a clump of marabou and tie the other material to either side so it does not pass through the hook point. Compressing or removing the barb is also helpful in getting materials to pass through freely.

For the body of the fly, I use specific materials that absorb the least amount of water in order to control the sink rate. Another option for this pattern is to use a hackle on the body portion of the fly to slow the sink rate even more. Or if you would like to keep it from sinking, you can even add foam to the monofilament to make the fly float.


As for the head of the fly, I originally used oval 3-D eyes of various holographic colors, which added a little more realism to the pattern. However, these type of eyes do have a slight disadvantage. The extra bulk of the 3-D eyes made the fly descended headfirst and more rapidly than it did when I used flat stick-on eyes, which are considerably lighter in weight.

A great thing about this fly is that it’s easy to alter it to suit just about any fishing scenario in which you don’t want the fly to get hung up. Unbind yourself from traditional hooks and designs, and you will find new ways to be creative with your tying!



HOOK: Extra-wide-gap or standard worm hook

SHAFT: 80-pound hard monofilament

TAIL: White marabou


FLASH: Pearl holo flash

BODY: Pearl crystal chenille

EYES: 3-D or 2-D holographic eyes

ADHESIVE: Zap-A-Gap, plus Zap-A-Gap Gel or Aquaseal




Practically impossible to snag


Derrick Filkins


Getting used to tying on monofilament


Tie the HPU Weedless Fly. Cast deep into cover confidently with this weedless baitfish imitation. John Frazier
1) Place a short piece of hard mono into the vise, and wrap a thread base of about one-eighth inch, starting at the vise and moving forward just as though the monofilament were the shank of a hook. Cover this thread base with Zap-A-Gap. The mono should be as long as the entire hook you plan to use. The length does not have to be exact at this point, as you will trim the mono later. John Frazier
2) Tie in the marabou and holo flash on the top, bottom and sides of the strand of mono. The length and the amount will depend on the size of the baitfish you want the fly to imitate. John Frazier
3) Tie in a short piece of crystal chenille onto the mono, and wind the thread forward to the position where the mono will be tied to the hook. Before you start winding the chenille forward, measure the distance between the point of the hook and the beginning of the flat forward surface where you will start tying the mono to the hook (the length of the body). Mark the mono with a pen so you have a reference point. Next, wind the crystal chenille forward, and tie off at the point where you stopped the forward thread wraps. At that spot, put in a couple of half hitches to keep the material in place. Leave the tag end of the chenille for finishing the fly. John Frazier
Remove the mono from the vise and use some type of cutting pliers to eliminate the section of mono that was held by the vise. Immediately in front of the crystal chenille, flatten the hard mono with smooth-surface flat pliers in preparation for tying the fly onto the hook. (If you are tying a fly that has definitive sides, make sure you flatten the mono so that the sides of the fly remain in proper position after you tie the mono onto the hook.) Put the hook into the vise and make a few wraps over the mono, positioning the fly so that the tail passes freely through the hook point. You may need to cut off the mono by the eye of the hook before finishing with several wraps of thread. Before I add these wraps, I put some Zap-A-Gap on the thread to help adhere the mono to the hook. I use thin thread since more wraps of thin thread are stronger than a few wraps of heavier thread. Also before making the final thread wraps, I take the remainder of the ice chenille and wrap it forward to behind the eye of the hook. John Frazier
Finish the fly with the eyes of your choice. Use Zap-A-Gap Gel or Aquaseal to fix the eyes to the ice chenille. John Frazier

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