Seeking sea trout


Our PRO-Team expert Allan Liddle gives us an insight on the best way to lure Sea Trout.

Despite the drastic decline our sea-going trout have faced especially over the past thirty years, we still have some good opportunities to hunt these trout out in the salt-water environment.

River estuaries are somewhere we often look for these fish and the obvious place to look first, but it’s not always here that you will find feeding fish, in fact often the trout are feeding harder in areas you might not expect them.

Thing is that finding these ‘marks’ requires a lot of time, blank days, observation and even a bit of detective work sometimes in order to build up your where to try locations. That said you might be in a feeding zone but simply not offering the correct imitation to the fish. Streamers are obvious, but shrimp patterns can be equally important. There really is no substitute for experience in this game, trial and error lessons learned; failures as well as successes, locations marked, tide, times and conditions recorded and a few flies you can really be confident with.

For me I like to seek out these fish using a baitfish type pattern and I have a few of these, however over the past couple of years I’ve really ‘homed-in’ on a simple but effective style of going for maximum flash attraction, coupled with as much mobility as I can find. I also have a range of sizes and switch between these as timing and the baitfish I intend to imitate dictate, that said I often find myself working with a fly in a size 10 or even 12, which for streamers is pretty small.

SPRITE Hooks fly fishing tie

Using Gulff Flexman resin which sets with just a tiny amount of ‘softness’ was the final thing I felt helped me to gain real confidence in this style of fly. This simply means the fly is a little bit less likely to ‘shatter’ if you hit something hard, remember you’ll often be in rocky places where the waves more your flies about in a much different manner than in a loch or river.

Eyes are very important I feel with bait-fish flies and although I tend to keep them kind of in proportion (as per the tutorial) it’s also worth noting that going a size up and exaggerating them a little can be a real trigger point for predating fish. But most important I’ve found is mobility and using very fine (almost hair-like), but robust materials such as Ice Dubbing gives you this, even if the fly is sitting almost static.

Finally, I’ve talked about our sea going trout and want to note that seatrout and brown trout are one in the same species. It’s just a trout maximising feeding opportunities throughout the environment is lives in, some stay in fresh water, some range to sea, some do both but despite the colour and size variations, they are simply all just ‘Salmo Trutta’ wild brown trout. For me my number one most favourite fish to search for where-ever they are and a truly incredible ‘animal’ that utilises every opportunity throughout all of its environment. From the tiniest head stream and lochans, rivers and lochs, through to the vast oceans, our ‘Humble Brownie’ is, I feel, a lot more important and remarkable than we often give it credit for.

Keep calm

& Tie flys

Seeking Sea Trout

Using saltwater style hooks helps the fly last a little bit longer, but it is still important to wash these under clean fresh water after each outing; nothing worse than opening up a fly box to a batch of rusty hooks and stained flies. The added use of UV resin also helps create ‘bullet-proof’ flies and it’s one of these (a go-to choice for me now) I am showing here; my Sea Trout Baitfish.

Colour is important and I have these flies in a range from pure silver, through a mixed ‘blended’ range to straightforward black. Blue works very well and I like to work these ranging from very light through to darker colours, the fun is playing with the colour mixes and the range and different possibilities is almost endless. Looking at the colours and hues of the small fish you’ll find when out fishing certainly helps and having patterns that reflect these are certainly worthy of trying, that said sometimes it just comes down to ‘shock’ tactics, giving the fish something they can easily see and can’t refuse. Water clarity and brightness of light (overcast, sunny, heavy dark cloud, clear blue skies) will play a part as well as obviously the fact if you are fishing daytime or night-time).

The colours and blends you can produce using the Ice Dubbing as the main body / tail material is vast and a whole range of baitfish colourations can be produced.

I like to tie these up from white and silver, through light blues, dark blues, reds, olive, purple and black. Although many are tied large, the mobility offered by this material as well as the lightness means you can get big, mobile and effective flies that cast easily.

Tungsten heads or dumbells can obviously be added if you need additional weight, and I often also use Micro Glint thread in various colours as the tying thread which doubles up as the base body material. 

Not all of these flies are long, with many on the size 12 hook and tied barely longer than the hook itself, perfect when smaller flies are required or small baitfish are around, instead of relying on the hunting fish chasing a larger streamer as it’s pulled into its line of vision. Going smaller and even lighter also helps when you want to fish right into the shallows, somewhere our coastal trout hunt and feed often.

Step by step

Step one fly tie sea trout

Step 1. Catch thread in behind hook eye

Step 2. Take a small amount of Krinkleflash and catch in at head leaving slightly more than hook length over back of hook

Step 3 Trim waste and run thread down and back up to secure

Step 4 Take a small amount of white Ice Dubbing and lay over top of Krinkleflash leaving tip just slightly longer.

Step one fly tie sea trout

Step 5 Fold back remaining Ice Dubbing and secure

Step 6 Repeat steps 4 and 5 with Red Ice Dubbing

Step 7 Repeat step 4 with Peacock Blue Ice Dubbing

Step 8 Trim the front facing section of dubbing to same as hook length

Step one fly tie sea trout

Step 9 Fold back under the hook to form under body

Step 10 Secure dubbing, form head and whip finish. Trim thread

Step 11 Draw the dubbing tight lifting upwards to ensure hook point is clear and seal with UV resin

Step 12 Place Mirage flat eyes one either side of head. Darken eye pupil (optional) with black marker to enhance

Step one fly tie sea trout

Step 13 Place small amount of UV onto each eye and set.

Step 14 Build up body with UV taking care to keep as even a profile as possible

Step 15 Place small amount of UV to areas required to keep profile even and set with torch.

sea trout fly finished


Hook; Sprite S1052 Salt Water Single #6 – #12  – Thread; Semperfli 8/0 red waxed thread – Tail; Semperfli pearl Krinkleflash – Mix of Semperfli Ice Dubbing (for this pattern it’s White Ice, Red Ice, Peacock Blue) – Eyes; Small ‘Mirage’ stick-on eyes. – Coating; Gulff Flexman UV resin

Instructional photos supplied Allan Liddle

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