8 amazing flies most Canadians have never heard about



Since debuting in the late 1980s, the Gurgler has become an essential saltwater surface fly, used all over North and Central America for everything from striped bass in the cold northeast to snook and peacock bass in the tropics. The high-floating foam-bucktail combination is tough, and it casts well (at least by big-fly standards). More importantly, the Gurgler splits the difference between noisy popping bugs and subtle sliders, filling a previously unrecognized niche. When moved gently, it gurgles and leaves a prominent wake; moved more sharply, it sputters and sprays.


Now one of my go-to flies for both small- and largemouth bass, the Gurgler is great for drift-twitching in rivers, and covering water in lakes. The fly’s originator, Jack Gartside, also claimed great success on stillwater trout by chugging an inch-and-a-half-long Gurgler along drop-offs and structure. The fly pictured here is the relatively unadorned saltwater version, which is my favourite. Popular variations include wiggly legs and a longer, more mobile feather or rabbit-strip tail. The colour is dealer’s choice, but I like mine bright so I can easily see the fly.

  • HOOK: Gamakatsu B10S Stinger, Mustad 34007 or similar, size 2 to 1/0
  • TAIL: Krystal Flash and/or Flashabou strands over bucktail
  • BODY: Saddle hackle, synthetic hackle or both (pictured)
  • SHELLBACK AND LIP: 2- or 3-mm-thick foam strip
  • DIFFICULTY: Moderate
For fly-tying notes, photos and videos, see “How to tie 8 awesome saltwater flies.”