Jimmy Eagleton is the sand shark king. His flies have evolved over years and years, however the first fly he gave me years ago has been my go-to fly for a long time. It doesn’t really have a name from its owner, but its aggressive and grizzly and furry, so Raccoon it shall be.
Jimmys presentation is everything, but its very technical and I have a developed a different method that has the same result. You need to lead the fish so that he’ll pass over it, obviously you want the sweet spot under his eyes. Get the fly in the path and as he approaches hold your rod and stripping hand straight out in front of you, and walk back slowly. You’ll feel it tighten if he’s on it, when he is and he shuffles around to eat you’ll feel it find the corner on his mouth. Tighten further and get ready for the run!
Don’t strike, don’t strip, you’ll just foul. Sand sharks don’t “see” flies, they feel them. So the bright and dark colours are for you to pick it up on the bottom. Contrast is king.
link back: https://themissionblog.com/2012/11/09/saving-the-sand-sharks-reputation/
Pete, nice fly and nice tip on the circle hook, BUT, sand sharks see a lot better than we think. I tie similar looking flies with some contrasting colours in them as well and have watched how especially aggressive smaller fish spot the fly from approx. one meter away, swim to it and pounce it. I once found a shoal of guitars that “trapped” a bait ball in a shallow bay and they were turning on their sides to hit the juvenile mullet; a fish also turned on its side to take my sinking fly in its mouth before it flipped horizontal again.
When the sandies are “ON”, they don’t mess around and will swim either straight to a well presented fly (they don’t like the plopping sound of heavy flies, so I always try to lead them in a bit to prevent them from spooking when the fly hits the water) or they pounce the fly really hard, kicking up a sand cloud. The latter type of take often results in a fowl hooked fish, but your tip to slowly walk backwards may be the answer? Will give it a shot on circles and post the results. Will also post some of my own flies that have caught good numbers of guitars, in the mouth;)
Leonard thats good to hear, but I’m yet to have that happen to me! I have experienced them pretty hungry to the point where you can blind fish for them. However even in that situation I’ve spotted fish and they still didn’t seem to visually react if the fly was off the ground. In my experience they will “pounce” or inspect if they feel or sense disturbance/vibration nearby, and its for that reason Jimmy uses that extended bead chain to make more vibration and “scratching” on the bottom, which he seems to think is the trigger. We’ve had it at De Mond where a sandy will follow a fly line in sensing the vibrations (at night). The circle hook was a game changer for me, even if you only get a quarter of the hook ups. There is a flat up the west coast thats absolutely littered with hunting Sandies at night… very keen to try that because they’re a whole different fish in the evening.
Sorry, the “sand cloud” takes usually happen when the fly “tickles” them under the rostrum. The take feels solid and the line usually tightens in the retrieve.
Yes Leonard you are right about there sight.There eyes in itself says it all.Simply remarkable design.That been said , Peter’s approach is a sneaky one and that does not give the sandy time to inspect the fly.What you get is a reaction strike.The first sandie I hooked on the circle hook and outrigger fly is one of my best fly fishing moments ever.The sandie pushed down on the fly and I just pulled steady on the taunt line and just felt the line go limp as the fly pulled out from under his nose or wing.What happened next was a compleat surprise , it turned and had another go at the fly.That sandie got hooked on its third attempt at one presentation.The fly with the four bead chain eyes works very good on Pet’s sneaky presentation.
Maybe we should design flies that incorporates all the triggers or even better ,let’s make a weekend of it! Good food , good wine ,fish during the day and brain storm fly tying at night around a camp fire.I am shore we can come up with something very special , that will put guitar fish on the map and take it away form the odyssey image and bad reputation.
Lets do it Jimmy! I still disagree with you two about the eyesight . haha
But off cause you do ,would not like it the other way.Thats way a brain storm weekend with different approaches and contrasting ideas will produce something concreet.
Gents, I know bugger all about sandies… I’m so keen for brainstorm 🙂
Soon -soon ,just do not do it without me.