Published Jan 7. 2006 - 18 years ago
Updated or edited Jul 24. 2016

Surf Candy

Experimenting with epoxy might glue you to the tying bench for hours, days, weeks. You can make highly durable, translucent baitfish imitations using synthetics and epoxy. Some years ago Bob Popovic's book "Pop Fleyes" introduced Kasper Mühlbach to the Surf Candy.

Until now The Epoxy Miracle has given me quite a few fish and still is my favorite baitfish imitation. It is perfect under most circumstances.
But, sometimes it seems too small for the big sea trout, which come close to the South Swedish shore from January to March.

The spin fishers often use woblers and long, slim lures or spoons to imitate sand eels. Of course they get more distance to their casts, but they also hook quite a lot of their fish only 20-30 meters or less than 100 feet from the shore.
The idea is not new, but for years I have been using grey hackle flies and shrimp patterns for these fish - and that has worked well. But on a trip to Italy I used the Surf Candy for the first time and saw how fish-like it was.

Cruising Jack's Bay

Pop Fleye

My first fish on a Surf Candy

Lars Persson

To imitate a sand eel better, I needed a more robust fly than the Epoxy Miracle.
The Surf Candy as described in Bob Popovic's book Pop Fleyes is such a fly. Durable, translucent, long and very fish-like.
I haven't tried it for sea trout, but next week I will certainly give it a chance. Until then I will tie some following this recipe:

Surf Candy
Pattern type: 
Cold saltwater fly
Bob Popovic
A generic bait fish imitation, imitating slim profiles like the sand eel's. Based on synthetics and epoxy, You can tie them in all colors and sizes and still get a nice cast.
Short shank.
Fine, color to match fly ot clear monofilament.
Flat silver mylar tinsel.
Under wing
Clear/white Ultra Hair or Super Hair.
Middle wing
Add 6-8 flash fibres like Flashabou, Crystal Flash or Lure Flash.
Top wing
Chartreuse Ultra Hair or Super Hair topped with dark grey, black or olive Ultra Hair or Super Hair.
3D prism eyes or other self sticking eyes.
Head and coating
5 min. epoxy.
Skill level/difficulty: 
  1. Attach the thread just behind the hook eye.
  2. Attach mylar tinsel.
  3. Turn the tinsel to the hook bend and back.
  4. Tie off.
  5. Tie in a bunch o clear Ultra Hair.
  6. If you want you can spread them around the shank to form a more round body.
  7. Tie in 3-4 flash fibres. Fold them back and secure them.
  8. Add a bunch of chartreuse Ultra Hair.
  9. Add a bunch of dark Ultra Hair.
  10. Prepare the epoxy. Mix well, and avoid adding bubbles by folding the two parts together.
  11. Apply the epoxy using your bodkin.
    Do not use too much. Add a small amount at a time. You have got plenty of time even though 5 minutes does not seem much.
    Make sure to add epoxy in the part of the wing, which goes from the hook bend to the eye.
  12. Stretch the wing using the index finger and thumb off your other hand.
    If you pull the wing as much as you can, you will get a slim profile. if you push the wing a little bit forward as the epoxy sets you will get a thicker profile moving more water.
    For Surf Candies I prefer a slim profile.

  13. Let the epoxy set.
  14. Add prism eyes.
  15. Add next layer of epoxy. If the epoxy starts dripping or running you have to rotate the or take it off.
    If you do not have a rotating rotating epoxy fly dryer, consider adding a second and third thin layer of epoxy instead of just a heavy second layer.
  16. Let the fly dry.
  17. Tie some more.
  18. Trim the fibres so that the wing becomes thinner towards the tip.

You can use a red/orange marker to make gills between the epoxy layers and you can use different kinds and sizes of self sticking eyes to change the appearance of the Surf Candy.

Surf Candy

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

Step 8

Step 9

Step 10

Ready for a swim

Why chartreuse? Well, the white-chartreuse-olive color combination worked well for the Epoxy Miracle, so it is just transformed to the Surf Candy. Anyway, I am sure, that almost any light belly/dark back combination will work.
A summer variation of the Surf Candy, to be used when there are lots of baitfish around, could be an almost translucent fly with just 1-2 straws of flash.


Great Site! I met ...

Great Site!
I met Bob in 1991 and He was tying his Surf Candy than. I think it was either 1990 or 1991, his Candies were featured in American Fly Tyer.
I think this is one of the nicest sites I have seen in years!

Dear Sir, I love yo...

Dear Sir,
I love your web page but I noticed an error in your description of the "Surf Candy". This may go in the category of " who cares..." but it is an error nontheless. You state that the fly's origin date is 1997 and it is not. I own a framed (in shadow box and signed by Popovich on the card he gave me which is at the base of that mounted fly) "Surf Candy" tied by Popovich himself in front of me at the East Coast Fly Fishing Symposium held at Seven Springs Resort in Pennsylvania in April of 1992. In addition the fly is largely of the same construction and is essentially a color variation of a "Sea Candy" which made its published appearance in "American Angler and Fly Tyer" in 1990. This is not meant as an attack by any means on you or your web page - I enjoy your format and keep your web site as a reference for myself. I have been a fly tyer for the past 42 years and wish to say that you put out quality work. I just thought you might want to take note of the error.


Log in or register to pre-fill name on comments, add videos, user pictures and more.
Read more about why you should register.

Since you got this far …

The GFF money box

… I have a small favor to ask.

Long story short

Support the Global FlyFisher through several different channels, including PayPal.

Long story longer

The Global FlyFisher has been online since the mid-90's and has been free to access for everybody since day one – and will stay free for as long as I run it.
But that doesn't mean that it's free to run.
It costs money to drive a large site like this.

See more details about what you can do to help in this blog post.