hollow fleye for striped bass

Essential 7 flies for Striped Bass in Boston & The Cape

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Fly fishing for striped bass and bluefish in the Boston and Cape Cod area is an exhilarating experience. Almost anywhere you can find water with any type of structure, ledge, disturbance, or even in some cases just straight flat sand – there will likely be stripers and potentially bluefish waiting to ambush your fly. There are so many opportunities to fly fish the harbors, bays, saltwater marshes, and rivers with some even being accessible by public transportation!

However when you go into a fly shop or outfitter and look at the huge variety of saltwater flies they are trying to sell you, it can be a bit overwhelming. Let’s make it easier. Below are the essential striped bass and bluefish flies for the Boston area, from the northshore to the cape and islands.

Clouser Minnow

The clouser minnow is the quintessential saltwater fly for almost any species anywhere in the salt. There are so many variations of this fly for different applications it’s mind boggling.

Sizes and Colors:

  • 2, 6, 2/0 are most common (you can always buy a larger one and trim it back as needed to match what they’re keyed in on)
  • Chartreuse and white, olive and white, red and white, pink and white, tutti frutti (pink and chartreuse)

chartruesse and white clouser minnow


Deceivers come in many shapes and sizes, and they’re all deadly. The most common are Lefty’s deceivers and bucktail deceivers. Pictured below is a lefty’s deceiver.

Sizes and Colors:

  • 1 and 2/0 are the most common
  • All white, blue and white, olive and white, chartreuse and white, and black

chartruesse and white leftys deceiver


Hollow Fleye / Flatwings

Hollow fleyes or other large flatwings are great flies to add a bit of bulk and target bigger fish, and are good imitations for when larger bait is around. Hollow fleyes are fully round and have a great profile from all angles whereas flatwings are great side profiles but not so much dead on or behind.

Sizes and Colors:

  • Go as large as you can throw here
  • Bunker colors, all white, and all black work great


hollow fleye



Who knows what a gurgler is meant to imitate, but it has fooled countless numbers of striped bass and bluefish! These are just as deadly imitating shrimp on the gulf coast as they are top water flies for the north east. Best fished on a floating line.

Sizes and Colors:

  • 1/0 – 3/0 are normal sizes with 3/0 being the most common
  • Chartreuse and white, all white, black

chartruesse gurgler



Speaking of top water, no striped bass fly box is complete without the banger. It’s another floating line fly that makes a nice popping sound on the surface that’ll grab the attention of any fish in the area, who just have to investigate. Also a good searching pattern if the water clarity is enough to see the fish come up to look.

Sizes and Colors:

  • 4/0 is the most common size
  • Chartreuse, white, orange, and silver

chartreusse banger


Hoo Fly

A favorite for when there is smaller profile bait or sand eels around.

Sized and Colors:

  • 1/0 is the most common size
  • bunker, peanut bunker, sand eel, and herring colors

sand eel hoo fly

Surf Candy

When the sand eels are in thick, the surf candy is like crack for any stripers in the area. It has the long skinny profile, belly, lateral line, and translucent property that closely mimics sand eels when on sandy bottoms.

Sizes and Colors:

  • 2 and 4
  • Pearl/white, Chartreuse and white, blue and white


Kinky Muddler

I know I said top 7, but no top striped bass and bluefish fly selection for the Boston and Cape Cod area would be complete without the kinky muddler.

Sizes and Colors:

  • 1/0
  • Tan and white, olive and white, chartreuse and white

kinky muddler