Top 5 Flies of 2022

Every year as part of the Kisatchie Fly Fishers’ Christmas Party, awards are presented for the winners of the club’s Mixed Bag Contest. One question is always asked of the crowd during the festivities:

“Which fly do you think caught the most fish?”

A challenging question given the diversity of species caught and number of anglers involved, it left me wondering what my Top Flies have been during the past calendar year. With a two hour drive home to contemplate this question (and no SBS scheduled for this week), I thought the answer might warrant a brief post.

#5 – EP Shrimp

The EP Shrimp (though I’ve taken to tying these with craft fur body dubbing loops as of late) has long been my downsized option of choice when fishing the salt. Fished on its own or as a “dropper” below a larger Clouser’s Minnow or Redfish Ritalin, it has been a day saving pattern on more than one occasion.

A favorite when targeting smaller species, it has also proven its worth when targeting large redfish in shallow water. To date, it has accounted for at least eight species in 2022 including the aforementioned redfish and striped sea robin pictured to the right.

For those unfamiliar with the pattern, you can check out the Step-by-Step at the link below:

EP Shrimp Fly Step-by-Step

#4 – Lefty’s Deceiver

While Lefty’s Deceiver can not be credited with catching the diversity of fish other members of this list have, its position is absolutely warranted given the number and quality of largemouth bass it produced this year.

As highlighted in the Backyard Bassin’ post published in February, this pattern consistently fooled 3 to 5 lbs largemouth throughout the cooler month’s of 2022.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Step-by-Step linked below:

Lefty Kreh’s Deceiver Step-by-Step

#3 – Redfish Ritalin

When it comes to fishing the Louisiana marsh, I’ve yet to find a fly that can compete with the Redfish Ritalin. It is the first fly tied to my tippet every time, and it likely accounts for 90% of the fish I’ve landed in the marsh.

Beyond the namesake redfish, it has proven a winner with everything that calls the marsh home. This year that has included flounder, specks, a sheepshead (if only briefly) and the 30+” black drum featured below.

A quick and effective tie, it is one that belongs in every Louisiana angler’s box:

The Redfish Ritalin Step-by-Step

Black Drum

#2 – Woolly Bugger

“The Woolly Bugger is so effective, it should be banned from some watersheds.” – Bill Hunter

Bill Hunter’s words certainly rang true in 2022 as the Woolly Bugger accounted for no fewer than 12 of the 57 species I’ve landed to date.

Tied in white, Olive or Black, this fly was my go-to when targeting panfish, small bass and even stream trout in many situations.

Woolly Bugger Fly Step-by-Step

If you don’t have a box full already, check out the step-by-step below and start tying:

Woolly Bugger Fly Step-by-Step

#1 – Clouser’s Minnow

While the woolly bugger would easily warrant top billing on many a Top 5 Flies list, it was easily outshined by another pattern in 2022. Bob Clouser’s Minnow, tied almost exclusively in all white or chartreuse, was far and away my most productive fly in 2022.

Producing fish in waters from Costa Rica to Rhode Island, Clouser’s Minnow accounted for at least 18 species during the past calendar year. With species ranging from redspotted sunfish to gafftop pompano to its credit, it was clearly the most versatile tool in my fly box.

Tie some up today in sizes #14 to 1/0. You never know what you might catch.

The Clouser’s Minnow Step-by-Step

Now that you’ve read my list, let’s here about yours. Comment below if there’s any pattern you feel I’ve overlooked or need to become acquainted with. I’m always happy to add a new pattern to my arsenal.

Tight Lines!


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5 thoughts on “Top 5 Flies of 2022

  1. My top 4 panfish this past season would have to be:
    2 from Tom Lentz, the Brim Fly & the Gill Getter (weighted and unweighted).
    Mini Hopper GFA
    and last but not least the Jiterbee

    1. Great list, Rick! I’ve fished the Mini Hopper GFA before, but I’ve yet to try the Brim Fly or Gill Getter. I’ll be sure to add both to my arsenal.

      As for the Jitterbee, it is a fan favorite in these parts for bluegill and rio grande cichlids. Something about that tail seems to drive the fish crazy.

      1. The Schminnow fell in my honorable mentions this year. That big spotted gar late in the season almost elevated it into the top 5.

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