I was schooled in fishing for laid-up tarpon back in the late eighties, and the first thought anyone had about how to get a tarpon to eat a floating fly back then involved throwing a crab or floating minnow imitation. They both worked (especially the deer-hair “crab”). But it’s easy to get locked into a pattern, and as the fish saw more of these flies, they seemed to get a bit harder to feed. Enter the monster mullet fly.
A client, Fitz Coker, showed up one day with mullet-gray streamer pattern that was about eight inches long and was tied–as he liked to say–”with half a chicken.” Anyone who watched the progression of tarpon flies toward smaller and smaller sizes would have done what I did: I laughed. But that giant mullet fly–when thrown into a line of big tarpon looking to the surface in the early morning–made them absolutely nuts. They had to eat it. I’ve seen the same thing happen when throwing flies that are near double the standard size to redfish and bonefish.
So don’t rule out the truly outsized fly. And never assume that a large fly will always scare the fish. Especially if you’re in the mood to try something different.