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A silhouette of a fly fisheman and a guide casting for redfish from a flats boat poling skiff in

A silhouette of a fly fisher and a guide. Casting for redfish in the marsh with a get-down worm is a good tactic. Envato image.

Make mine a worm, must be floppy

By Skip Clement

It is without hesitation to say that everyone has had a mentor or mentors learning how to: cast a fly, fish for various types of game fish [freshwater and saltwater species], and finally in advanced stages of fly fishing, obsession; ‘pursue and conquer game fish regardless of the consequences to one’s bank account, career and family life.’

In other words, graduated to tie flies representing nothing that has ever lived in hopes of inventing a new Woolly Bugger.

— Quote [partial/Caputo] from Fly Fishing the Florida Keys 

The Cinder Worm is a delicacy for redfish, bonefish, striped bass, and long list of other saltwater flats species. If you happen to fillet a redfish in early spring, you will likely find that its belly is full of these worms as they swim the flats trying to suck them out of the mud. The Cinder Worms will also school up and create a riot later in the season.

Is the ‘worm’ one of the most significant fly types?

Some think so, and they are all easy to tie, no matter construction or materials. Names of worms most familiar are San Juan Worm, Mop Fly, Cinder Worn, Squirmy Wormy, and the one tied below; Herman deGala’s Skirted Finesse Worm, which was to target largemouth bass.

Are there other worm patterns, of course, but most seem to be variants of the king of worm patterns – San Juan Worm. Most listed worm patterns will serve you well with great capture stats  better than expected and do so for many on a year-round basis.

Another worm with great catch stats – a Tungsten Bead Squirmy Worm. With a tungsten bead it will drop like a rock.


Recipe for Herman deGala’s Skirted Finesse Worm:

  • Hook: Gamakatsu Tube Bait Jig Head 1/32oz
  • Thread: Danville 3/0
  • Abdomen: Chocklett’s Finesse Body Chenille Medium
  • Skirt: Spey Plumes
  • Substitute liberally 

What can a worn catch?

Just about anything finned – freshwater riverine and pond animals and a long list of saltwater flats animals. Most, however, are more familiar with worm being effective with freshwater trouts, steelhead, and salmons.


Author Skip

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