A Simple and Effective Sand Eel Fly Pattern

// Written and tied by Rainer Ballin

Optimised for use on light #6 to #7 rods, the body is made of a lot of lead to keep the sand eel fly pattern sinking to the ground.

A successful pattern when small fish and sand eels are out and about. It imitates a sandeel fleeing to the bottom. The streamer is made for a quick retrieve and can be fished well on the floating line as well as on intermediate or sink lines. A welcome side effect, the high dead weight of the fly stretches the leader even when a cast is not perfect. The fly fishes from the first moment it hits the water surface.


A great pattern to fish for sea trout and sea bass. It’s very effective and (with a little practice) also quick and easy to tie.


Material list:

– Salt water hook e.g. Varivas 2610 ST-V #6

– Round lead, optionally 0.5mm to 1mm

– Polar Hair in different colours

– Strong tying thread, Fabisch Fly Fishing 12/0

– Flash

– Kystal Flash

– Eyes, 3D by Flys & More

– UV-adhesives, “SOLAREZ” available at Solitip.de

– Nail varnish, transparent


Sandeel 1Apply the basic winding to the saltwater hook. Fix with superglue as always.


Sandeel 2Apply a lead winding. The lead has two functions: it should weight the fly so that the sandeel imitation always jiggs nicely. This way it dives to the bottom. It also forms the round fish body. This saves material and time.


Sandeel 3Tie the Polar Hair in front of the hook arch. First white hair, then some flash material. Then again one or more layers of Polar Hair. Colours can be varied as you like. In this case chartreuse, i.e. strongly UV active.


Sandeel 4The body material is tied in at the back and fixed with the tying thread.


Sandeel 5Tightly wrap the material around the lead to the front. Fix it to the head.


Sandeel 6Directly behind the eye another tuft of Polar Hair in the desired back colour of the fish. The material is well fixed and pulled back over the shank together with the integrated Krystal Flash.



Sandeel 8The 3D eyes are applied on both sides and slightly fixed so they do not slip during processing with the UV varnish.

Now apply more UV-adhesives in several layers until a round, even body is formed. The resulting body is brushed and fixed with nail polish. The sandeel is done!


Sandeel 10The finished sand eel fly pattern


Sandeel 9Top view of the sand eel fly pattern



Sandeel 12Different colour variations of the sand eel fly pattern


Check out more of Rainer’s work here:

“A Slim Shrimp Sea Trout Fly”

“A Perky Streamer for Perch”