Best Saltwater Fly

Saltwater Flies – Buying Guide, Reviews, and Comparison


If you’re only interested in receiving some quick suggestions on how to find the best saltwater flies and not so much on learning the ins and outs of fly fishing, which is a very complex subject that might take you weeks to research properly, then you’ve come to the right place. After looking over a large number of saltwater flies review, product comparisons and customer responses we settled upon the Bonefish & Permit Flats Fly Collection as the one fly set to have when going out for fly fishing. What makes it so good is simply the large and diverse variety of flies you get for a surprisingly low price — no less than 13 of them, most fitted for use in tropical and subtropical flats but also workable in places like New England. If bunker flies is what you’re after, then our recommendation goes to the Shad Baitfish set of 4 Bunkers.



Our top choices


With over 10.000 patented fly designs out there, it’s expectedly hard for a beginner into fly fishing to choose the right one for the job. The selection is more often than not made after consulting with experienced friends since it’s almost impossible to know what are the best flies for saltwater before trying them out. Based on the user feedback we’ve reviewed, the following items came out on top.



Bonefish & Permit Flats Fly Collection


As they say in war, “numbers are their own strength” and you’ll be getting a lot of cheap infantry units with this set of flies. Maybe the analogy isn’t perfect, but what this means is you’ll be able to effectively cast for a wide variety of fish, in a large number of settings, and if you don’t achieve the desired results with one lure, you can always change it with another one.

But are they effective? Customer reviewers do find them so, even the ones that otherwise take a critical attitude towards the product. So yes, they catch fish pretty well, especially on the Florida flats, the flats of the Bahamas, Yucatan and other such exotic locales, with some folks using them to lure in northern species like the New England trout.  

Besides being effective, this set of flies looks like the result of a successful arts and crafts project, meaning it’s rather pretty to look at, but the patterns are still relevant for luring in fish.     

They’re set on stainless steel hooks of various sizes which hold well to salt water, although some customers found the flies themselves a little flimsy. This isn’t such a big issue since these sort of items are easy to “repair”.

Buy from for ($22.99)





Shad Baitfish set of 4 Bunkers


The insects these fishing flies are supposed to imitate are considerable in size and have a thin body, which could prove problematic to replicate with a hard material. That’s why bunkers flies are made of thin straws, of either synthetic material, dawn and anything else the fly fishing enthusiast can think of.

They are used for pike, musky, striped and largemouth bass among other saltwater species. Since these tend to bite hard, the bunkers flies must be especially durable, lest you end up picking strands of it from your catches mouth.

This set of 4 bunkers received good feedback for its durability, with its threads being “glued throughout the fly” and firmly tied to the stainless steel hooks. Of course, the threads themselves are water repellant, so they float on the surface and maintain the rough shape of a fly.

Only shad patterns are represented, but these seem to be attractive enough for most fish and also to the human eye, the pack receiving some compliments for its looks.  

Maintenance is another possible issue that the manufacturer made provisions for and the water repellant strands are easy enough to be redressed with a regular comb.

Buy from for ($19.75)





Lefty’s Deceiver Flies Haggerty 


Deceiver type flies are very well regarded by anglers for their quality and overall fish-fooling properties. These flies made by Bill Haggerty are no exception, receiving great praise from customer reviewers.

They are mounted on mustad saltwater hooks, ranging in size from 1/0 to 5/0, depending on the specific item you decide upon since these appear to be sold by the piece. The flies themselves are between 2 and 5 inches long.

Only natural materials have been used in their construction, such as bucktail hair, feathers from a number of birds and pearl flash. Besides toughness, this gives them a richness in color and an opacity that synthetic materials can hardly replicate. Epoxy was used as a coating for the head, to give it an extra shine, and the eyes are prismatic for the same effect.

Depending on the color pattern used — mostly bright oranges and muted browns, but also greys and pale blues — these deceivers will be good for luring in striped bass, bluefish, snook, sea trout and tarpon among the saltwater species, but are also good for freshwater muskies, bass and Florida peacock bass, especially the orange ones. 

Click to see the price on Amazon!





Buying guide


There’s a whole science behind making the saltwater flies, and we’re not even going to attempt delving into it. However, you don’t necessarily need to be an expert in order to make the right pick. Some research is required, of course, but there are also a couple of general things to have in mind, and not all of them pertain to mere intuition and common sense.

Make sure you have the right equipment

Before setting out to search for your perfect set of files you should stop and consider whether or not your equipment is appropriate for this style of fishing, otherwise you might end up spending some dozens of dollars on something you won’t take any enjoyment in using.

For the rod, experts recommend a versatile piece, of about 8 or 9 feet in length, to give you adequate reach for cape fishing (although a longer one would be ideal) while also holding under a certain weight. You will have to use this with a heavy line — since heavy lines are a must when it comes to fly fishing — so a lot of length in the rod will make casting all the more tiresome.

The type of action you’ll require is also dependent on the need to use a heavy sinking line. A stiff rod might not be all that friendly to beginners, but it is otherwise recommended for optimum performance.

The reel will only need to be resilient enough to handle a saltwater environment, and maybe to offer some smooth action. Things like drag type or force are not all that important, so don’t look for an expensive model unless you really want to.


Choose your type wisely

There are many varieties of fishing flies out there, broken by things like size, body shape, function, color, and texture, which can differ significantly depending on the variety of insects their makers intend to imitate.  

For example, bunkers will be good for trolling for fish with a large mouth opening, while the aptly named flat flyes work best for species that inhabit tropical and subtropical flats of saltwater.


When is durability a factor?

Some types of flies aren’t made to resist all that well because other factors take a precedent. For example fishing flies for flats, that can feature an intricate design aimed at replicating insect legs and segments, will require some handiwork to be kept in shape.

Durability does significantly factor in for deceivers and bunkers, however, with their long strands being meant to withstand powerful attacks.



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