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Captain Joe Blados invented the Crease Fly about three decades ago. A lot of striped bass and false albacore wish he hadn’t. This mostly foam baitfish pattern has fooled a lot of fish in its home range of the mid-Atlantic states, and in Florida, the Gulf, on the West Coast, and in lots of other waters, fresh as well as salt.

Now 72, Blados is to some extent retired from guiding, and completely retired from his job as a welder for the highway department on the North Fork of Long Island. Along with inventing the Crease Fly and more conventional patterns, he illustrated Tug-O-War: A Fly-Fisher’s Game by his friend and fishing buddy Nick Curcione, and Saltwater Flies of the Northeast by Angelo Peluso. “I was always on the innovative side,” he says.

Blados had twin goals in developing the Crease Fly: aerodynamics and stealth. “You wanted something that was thin and streamlined so you could cast it,” he says. “A big round popper was hard to cast, and sometimes it would freak the fish out. Especially in shallow water.”

The Crease Fly turned out to be a terrific imitation of juvenile menhaden, known on Long Island as “Peanut Bunker,” an abundant bait favored by the local fish. “False albacore definitely go nuts on them,” Blados says. “Matter of fact, they’re my predominant species. And tarpon! We did really well with crease flies on tarpon in Florida.”

Despite the buoyancy of its foam body, the Crease isn’t really a popper, though some tiers make sure to plug the opening at the front to create a popping face. One productive tactic is to use a sinking or intermediate line to pull the fly below the surface and let it flutter back up when you pause the retrieve. However you fish it, the fly’s silhouette, action, and shiny sides draw strikes—from striped bass, bluefish, and false albacore, as well as giant trevally, dorado, redfish, tarpon (in larger sizes), black bass, and the list continues. There’s also a jointed version of the Crease Fly with, presumably, even better action in the water.

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The beautiful shiny finish is achieved by using peel-off Mylar transfer film on sticky-sided craft foam, although there are tiers who just use the foam, perhaps decorated a bit with waterproof markers. The tail is standard saltwater bucktail and flash. Cyanoacrylate glue, like Zap-A-Gap or Krazy Glue, holds the body together and a finish of epoxy gives it shine and durability. Bladed wooden cutters are available to make uniform, perfectly shaped foam bodies, and modern UV epoxy makes the old drying wheel unnecessary.

The Crease Fly Recipe

  • Hook: Mustad S74SNP-DT, 4x long, or your favorite long saltwater streamer hook, sizes 1/0-4/0
  • Thread: 210 Denier (3/0), tier’s choice of color
  • Tail: Bucktail mixed with Krystal Flash or Flashabou
  • Body: Self-adhesive white craft foam with Mylar transfer foil, tier’s choice of color (or decorate with markers)