May 10 2023

Kevin Adley’s 5 Favorite Flies For Striped Bass Fishing On Cape Cod

by Kevin Adley

Introduction from Ryan of My Fishing Cape Cod

I first met Kevin Adley at a winter expo when he was manning the TowBoatUS Cape Cod/Plymouth booth. Kevin is a captain for TowBoatUS Cape Cod/Plymouth and he's on the water throughout the season helping anglers and boaters.

However, once the conversation shifted to fly fishing, there was no turning back. For the next half an hour Kevin and I discussed just about everything you could think of with regards to targeting stripers on Cape Cod with the fly rod. I was amazed by how passionate Kevin was about fly fishing!

Kevin's excitement about fly fishing was contagious, and I decided right then and there that I would ask Kevin to write a fly fishing article for My Fishing Cape Cod. 

Today I am excited to share this post from Kevin about his 5 favorite flies for striped bass fishing on Cape Cod. As always, please let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!

Kevin Adley's 5 Favorite Flies for Striper Fishing on Cape Cod

Photos by Owen Colbert

#1. A Variation Of The Redfish Ritalin

My all-time favorite fly for flats fishing for striped bass is a New England variation of the Redfish Ritalin, originally tied by 239 Flies. 

A long time fishing partner of mine, Owen Colbert (an outstanding fly tier and flats fisherman himself) recently experimented by tying this fly with bigger hooks and different materials.

Now, the version we use is tied with blue and tan colors.

The particular fly we find most effective (pictured above) is an outstanding shrimp pattern; almost any striped bass I have seen cruising the shallow flats has shown interest in it.

Interestingly, when a little blue is added to the fly and some heavy dumbell eyes, any bass that is keyed in on crabs on the bottom finds it completely irresistible.

2. The Olive & White Hollow Fleye

I have been tossing a fly from a boat along the Cape, mainly in the Plymouth area, for a while now. One fly that has seen a lot of fish is the olive and white hollow fleye, tied by the legendary Bob Popovics.

The action on the this fly is incredible! Specifically, the profile on the fly mirrors the adult/peanut bunker very well depending on the length of the fly.

While there are many ways to fish this fly, I fish it by doing long and slow strips with pauses in between. This technique gets the best action out of the fly. When the fish are aggressive, I tend to increase the speed and frequency with which I used this method.

Typically, I emphasize using sparse clumps in this fly because it allows the hollow fly to be a hollow fly and not a Bucktail deceiver. By reverse tying with sparse clumps of bucktail, you are able to allow the fibers to naturally breathe in the water when you strip the fly in. This creates the illusion of having a lot of bucktail when you really don't.

When first tying in the sparse clump of bucktail it is common to think that this possibly can't be enough. However, when you do tie five or six clumps it all adds up and creates a desired result. After all, one bucktail can make one or two dozen of these flies. You can toss 8-9 inch hollows on an eight weight fly rod all day.

3. The Flatwing

The next on my list is the Flatwing, a simple yet very effective pattern for striped bass. It consists of bucktail with one or more hackles (feathers) tied at the tail section of the fly.

A flatwing is a very good pattern when bass are keyed in on smaller, thinner baitfish. When you have multi-feather flat wings you can imitate tinker mackerel very well.

I prefer either all plain white-colored, or patterns which have a few strands of olive thrown over white bucktail.

4. The Clouser Minnow

My go-to fly for early season and late season bass is the clouser minnow, arguably the most popular and effective fly for anything that swims!

The primary way I tie my clouser is with all the bucktail tied on the bottom of the hook, commonly called the “Flats Clouser”.

The Clouser is great at imitating silver sides, sand eels, or anything relatively small. The way to fish this fly is by using quick, short strips when the fish are aggressive. When the fish are sluggish (in either really warm water or really cold water) the trick is to slow down your speed - even if you already believe you are going as slow as possible.

The color the schoolie-size stripers seem to go crazy over is chartreuse and white. There are countless times where the fish have completely destroyed the fly, hardly any bucktail remain, and dumbell eyes simply hang on by a thread. This pattern is great to throw when you are fishing new waters as almost any striper that sees it will take it.

It is important to keep in mind that you do have to be careful throwing this fly as even being hit with a small #1 clouser feels like getting hit with an orange.

5. The Lefty's Deceiver

Now no list would be complete without the Lefty's Deceiver. Tied by the legend himself, Lefty Kreh, this fly has seen stripers of all sizes.

Moreover, it can be tied in a variety of different colors.

The most common colors are olive and white or chartreuse and white. This pattern is great for imitating larger peanut bunker that are around during the late season.

Any baitfish in the bay can be effectively imitated with a deceiver.

Thanks for reading this article and I hope you found the information helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.

Tight lines! 🎣

About the author 

Kevin Adley

Plymouth native Kevin Adley is a passionate fly fisherman, and employee of TowBoat US Cape Cod/Plymouth. We're excited to have him writing articles about his fly fishing experiences here on MFCC

  • Is there anywhere on the cape – or internet to order the redfish Ritalin and what hook size? thanks!

    • I honestly don’t know Bradley, but in Barnstable Harbor (which for anyone else reading this is where Bradley plans on fishing) I have done well with many different flies. During May and June I like to use real big flies like 7-9 inches that imitate herring and mackerel. When the sand eels are in during the summer it would probably pay to have a fly that is smaller and more slender. Something in the 3-4 inch range would be good for imitating general baitfish such as mummichogs, and of course later in the summer/fall, peanut bunker.

  • Great choices Kevin! I also love the Jiggy, a weighted fly by Bob Popovics which is similar to the Clouser but with a nose cone instead of barbells. Great for the Monomoy and Brewster flats. Very easy to tie yourself as well. Many years ago I was at a tackle shop in Seaside Park, NJ with my foster son. He was very into fly fishing while I knew almost nothing. As we entered the shop he whispered with a sense of awe, “that guy over there is Bob Popovics”. My brilliant uninformed reply, “who the hell is Bob Popovics”?

  • Hi there, great article. Can you explain a bit about the difference between using weighted vs. unweighted flies? Bit confused when to use a weighted fly if using an intermediate or sinking line. Just gives it different action?


  • Nice article Kevin, do you mind sharing tying materials, hook size and how you fish the redfish Ritalin?

  • Hi Ryan
    I believe that the picture of the Lefty Kreh Deceiver and the Flatwing picture are interchanged in the Kevin Adley 5 Favorite Flies article. Article and pictures are very nice.

  • Great article,,,lots of knowledge for sure, would love to see these flys in action with a nice bass hanging off the hook…

  • Great blog! I am not a fly fisherman, yet…..but I use flys all the time as teasers off a drop loop on my leader. This past weekend on the beach in truro the teaser took 80% of the fish.
    I will have to get the ones you mentioned, thanks.

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