A spoon fly is a cheat. At least that’s how a lot of fly guys feel, simply because spoons are synonymous with gear fishing. Even in seatrout and redfish circles, where these epoxy wobblers were born, many guides only use them out of desperation or when other patterns just can’t get it done. Ten years ago I might have agreed that a spoon fly was a dirty play, but not anymore. In today’s fly world, it’s all about action, so I’d argue that the old-school spoon fly was actually ahead of its time. Spoon flies offer incredible action in a small, easy-to-cast package. They are very durable. Most important, despite salty origins, spoon flies will catch any fish that eats little baitfish anywhere. They’ve also never been easier to tie.
Give Me Some Skin
There are several traditional ways to make a spoon fly, and they’re all painful. You can tie a wire frame and try to fill it with epoxy. You can make a mold out of Silly Putty. Quite often you’ll curse, waste a lot of time, make a mess, and end up with one or two spoons that actually wobble right. Or you can buy a pack of Jonathan Kiley’s Spoon Skinz ($3.75) and pump spoon flies out as effortlessly as zebra midges.
Spoon Skinz aren’t new, though Kiley says they’ve been “kind of under the radar” thanks to the spoon fly stigma. He released them in 2014 after spending a few years perfecting these pre-cut spoon forms with easy tie-in tabs. Kiley has a full tying tutorial on his YouTube channel; the short version is that you weight the shank with lead wrap and bead-chain eyes, tie in a tail, and then tie a clear Spoon Skinz on top of it all. This serves as a platform for the epoxy, which you can color however you’d like (see “Just Add Glitter” for tips) and smear thinly over the template.
I’ve always had a few salty spoon flies in my boxes, but when I found Spoon Skinz just last season, I went a little spoon crazy, creating tail and body color combos for a variety of species I’d never targeted with spoon flies before. Not surprisingly, they all worked.