Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Steve's Estuary Fly


Text and Photos by Steve Chatterton

Hook Gamakatsu SS15/T size 2
Thread Olive 3/0
Eyes Size 5/32oz. Chrome dumbbell
Tail Rubber Fly tails - SM pumpkin/black flake
Body Cyrstal chenille - chartreuse
Wing Sparkle Flash - light olive pearl

Over the last year or so I have put considerable effort into targeting estuary species such as bream, flathead, trevally and whiting in estuary waters around Wollongong. My endeavours were met with limited success and I related this fact to Scott Mitchell of the Alpine Angler. Scott told me there was no problem catching Bream on fly in Lake Illawarra and to prove this we made arrangements to have a fly and soft plastic outing on Lake Illawarra.  I fished predominately with fly and Scott with soft plastics. Despite many changes of fly and technique it wasn’t until I swapped to my spin rod and soft plastics that I caught a fish or even had a hit. On subsequent trips I went through the same process with the same result. On analysing what was happening it wasn’t the delivery system that was the problem it was just that I couldn’t make any of my flies do what a soft plastic would do so I set out to change that. I needed a fly that could be fished like a soft plastic but could be delivered as a fly. The outcome is my estuary fly. My preferred colour is green as described below but of course pinks and other colours work well also. The hook type and size and dumbbell weight are important because I have found that thicker hooks such as the 34007 Mustad is too thick and heavy and wont turn over unless you use a much heavier eyes and then the fly is hard to cast and the action of the tail is impaired.

Tying Procedure

Step 1

a) Starting at the eye wind the thread to the bend of the hook and then back four fifths of the way toward the eye of the hook.
b) Tie in a dumbbell eyes using figure eight wraps and wraps above the hook shank and below the eyes. Secure the eyes in place with super glue or epoxy.
c) Tie in the butt end of the tail along the full length of the hook shank with the curve falling below the hook.

Step 2

a) Tie in the crystal chenille at the bend.
b) Take the thread back to the front of the eyes. 
c) Wrap the crystal chenille along the body all the way to the eye. Take the Crystal Chenille over the top of the the eyes and tie off on top of the hook shank and trim off in front of the eyes.
d) Turn the hook over in the vice.

Step 3

a) Take a small bunch of sparkle flash about half as thick as thick as a match stick and tie it in on the bottom of the shank and in front of the eyes so that the tag ends will cover the bend of the hook.
b) Build up a nice head with thread, whip finish and varnish.