The Triangle Fly
A strange kind of saltwater fly for sea trout - nothing like other flies
By Martin Joergensen
I admit that this is an odd fly for saltwater. I was introduced to it by my cousin who's an avid angler like myself, except that he has been that for far longer than I have - actually as long as I can remember... ever since we were kids. Well, that's a whole other story, which remains to be told.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, the Triangle Fly, this odd contraption, which indeed is a far cry from the flies we usually use for sea trout. Odd, why you may ask. Well, first of all it's tied on a treble hook. I don't know of any other saltwater patterns that call for a treble. Also it's sparse. It is actually so sparse that the treble hook becomes a very dominant part of the fly. Few saltwater flies that I know of are as simple and lightly dressed as the Triangle Fly.
My cousin accredits the fly to his friend Otto Poulsen who's an old timer in Danish sea trout fishing. Another story to be told.
Back to the fly here.
Why a fly like this? Beats me! I can just note that it works. Many a large sea trout has been caught on this little rascal, and particularly migrating autumn and winter fish seem to be interested. Don't ask me why... I have no idea. It's temping to mention size as a factor, but we fish other small flies for salty sea trout, and this one seems just a tad more efficient.
I'm more tempted to argue that it might be the weight of the treble hook that does the job. I made another squirrel streamer a bit like it, tied on a double hook, and that particular fly seemed to have a similar good effect on sea trout. I feel fairly confident that weight and ability to penetrate the water has its say in flies like these.
Treble too much?
Some people might be uncomfortable with the treble hook, and on some waters, hooks like this are banned. Well, don't use this fly then. The treble hook is an integral part of its anatomy, and I don't think the fly will be quite the same on a single hook. A double maybe, but a treble does work best.
The materials list is so short that it's almost not worth writing it as a list, but anyhow:
The hook is a short shank up-eye treble hook in a size around #8 or #10. Not too big. The thread is just 6/0 black.
- two straws of pearl twinkle flash
- a small bundle of natural squirrel
Following the same line, it is close to being rude to write down the tying instructions, but here goes:
- tie in the flash as an underwing about twice as long as the hook shank
- tie in the squirrel tail as a wing, about the same length
- whip finish and varnish
That's it! Few flies are simpler than that. I have no other sea trout flies as simple. The only flies I can think of that have a slight likeness are Ally Gowan's Ally's Shrimp flies and flies in the Irish shrimp and grub tradition, which bear a certain resemblance in appearance, but are definitely much more complex and tied in a whole different manner.
Finicky spawning fish can sometimes call for a long leader, so about 1½ rod lengths ending in a 0.20mm (3X) tippet will often be necessary.
The fly is fished on a floating line and a relatively long leader.
Tie on the fly with a guiding knot in order to steer it right. A Morrum knot is what I use.
Let it sink a bit before retrieving, and take it back in small half-foot long strips. If you see the fish make sure the fish see the fly. Cast in front of the fish and start your retrieve slowly. If a fish follows without taking, stop the fly, wait and then strip strike! The strike will either set the hook or yank it away from the fish in a way that might induce a take on the following stop. This particular method is useful with any other pattern where you have sea trout following, but not taking.