The Fry Fly is an easy to tie, small, lightweight minnow pattern that is a great match when fish are gorging themselves on mosquitofish in the St. Johns River. Shad can often be caught on this pattern when they are active in the upper part of the water column. This fly pattern does not have a bead chain or hourglass eye, but rather has a small tear drop shaped epoxy head that allows the hook to ride tip up, but also stay shallow rather than diving to the bottom. The shape of the head also creates a darting action when being retrieved that can elicit a strike.
In addition to shad, you will find bass, stripers/ hybrids, pan fish, and even gar will take these little flies, so they are a great alternate fly to keep in your box. The Fry Fly may not be a fly that you use on every outing, but when fish are active up top, they can be deadly, particularly in the early part of the season as the water recedes off of the pastures and in to the river’s banks. This concentrates the small Gambusia (Mosquito Fish,) grass shrimp, and other tasty morsels in to the river that have otherwise been spread out across the flat pasture. Fish of all kinds school up and the feeding frenzy can be amazing to fish.
Fry Fly Pattern:
Hook: Size 10 Heavy Scud Hook (edit: After a season fishing them, I think a Light Wire Curved/ Scud Hook like the Daiichi 1130 tends to ride hook tip up more consistently. Either way though, the shad do not seem to care. I think the epoxy teardrop creates a keel on the fly that causes it to wobble, and that is why they can’t resist them. So hook tip up is only important if you are fishing them on a sink tip near bottom where you might snag)
Thread: White Danville’s
Tail: White Kip Tail
Eyes: 1/8″ Prismatic Stick On Eyes
Head: Thin Clear Cure Goo