top of page

New to Fly Fishing or Tying? KISS It!

It seems like just yesterday I was in my basement standing on a broken stool tying dollar store feathers onto Eagle Claw baitholder hooks trying to replicate flies I had seen in pictures. Fast forward 10 years, and I certainly have expanded my horizons when it comes to the art of tying. Nowadays I spend my time with the long rod stalking striped bass in the surf or Delaware River, or trying to entice other bass species in local freshwater impoundments. Of course I do not consider myself a strict fly fisherman, but I have dedicated quite a lot of time trying to perfect my craft, keeping it in my back pocket for the right opportunity. For example, there are days when I set out on a mission to fish Largemouth with swimbaits, but even then I will have the fly rod at the ready to follow up on fish that won’t commit to a larger offering. At those times, there is something special about catching a fish with your own creation.

When I tie, even before I sit down at the vice, I have a plan in my head as to what I want

to create and what forage I will attempt to match. When fly fishing, just as with spinning, different scenarios call for different patterns. With thousands of different patterns out there, it is easy to get bogged down in the latest “hot” fly or trending materials. Instead, I like to keep it simple with both profile and color, especially for Striped and Black Bass in my local Central Jersey waters. If you were to look in the small box I carry in the surf, you won’t find anything to write home about- an assortment of Clousers, Half and Halfs, Snake

flies, and maybe the occasional “beast” pattern- a selection that covers the bites I might encounter on the particular tide I have chosen to fish. Most of the time I am fishing less than five feet of water with a weight-forward floating line, so I select flies that also match the equipment I plan to use.

Starting with knowledge built from experience, I consider each baitfish or food morsel containing the color white and then, since striped bass are attracted to shades of yellow and green; I add those colors to my plans and begin to tie. When night fishing enters into the equation, my materials adapt as well towards darker and darker shades. As I see it, the art of fly fishing is difficult enough, I don’t need the complexity of sitting on

the beach pouring over lots of fancy patterns trying to decide what to throw.

What I tie and what I carry have been proven to be smart choices in the past, so why go against that grain? As a self-taught fly fisherman and tyer, I have experienced various learning curves and learned from each experience. If nothing else, that experience has taught me to keep my fly selection simple, to develop dependable, proficient casting skills, and to keep my line wet- making for more experiences. Nothing helps you at the bench or on the water more than focused time on the water. Helps me #LiveThePassion!

This video highlights James' flyfishing experience.

James Buonanno Jr. has been one of iBass360's most prolific fishermen and a blog contributor. James is equally comfortable on freshwater rivers and lakes as well as in the surf or offshore in the salt. He has proven spinning skills with a variety of fresh and saltwater tackle and has also developed as a fly tyer and fly fisherman in both environs. In addition to being Prostaff at iBass360 he also represents Rapala Daiwa Corporation - USA, and Huk Gear


bottom of page