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Fly Tying Whitlock's 'Lectric Eel

Updated on December 25, 2015
"Flies for Bass and Panfish" by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen  Copyright 1992.  Published by Northern Press, Inc.
"Flies for Bass and Panfish" by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen Copyright 1992. Published by Northern Press, Inc.

About Whitlock's 'Lectric Eel

Fly tying is a bit like cooking. Everyone is looking for that perfect recipe for the right occasion. Believe it or not, there are many fly tying books giving you recipes for various flies. Some even describe the occassion. One of my favorite books is Flies for Bass and Panfish. The authors have collected many patterns for warmwater fly fishing. Within the book is a recipe for Dave Whitlock's 'Lectric Eel. Dave Whitlock is a master fly fisher in his own right, so when he puts his name on a fly, I take notice.

The 'Lectric Eel is under the leech section (yes leeches do more than suck your blood; fish eat them). What attracts me to the fly is that it is dark, yet has flash along the sides. Dark colors are easier to see in low light conditions. However, a bit of flash never hurts to give the fly some reflective properties. Being a rather large fly, the occasion should be bass under low light or cloudy water conditions and not near the surface.

Whitlock's 'Lectric Eel
Whitlock's 'Lectric Eel

Tying the 'Lectric Eel

The linked video below goes into fair detail on how to tie the fly. There are a few things to note:

  1. I tie this fly on a size 4, 3x or 4x long shank hook. This size is just large enough to go with larger fly materials or just small enough to go with smaller fly materials. Specifically, I tie it with 6/0 thread size, but larger, 3/0 thread could be used, especially when building up the head. Also, I use a heavy, 28 gauge wire, but lighter 30 gauge could be used.
  2. I depart from the original recipe by omitting a weed guard (generally I don't like them), and adding painted eyes. Eyes on a fly are a plus for bass. I also omit green peacock herls that are supposed to go along the back of the fly and trail off above the tail. Peacock herl is one of my favorite, natural materials for flies. However, for the 'Lectric Eel, I find it difficult to wrap wire around the herl and the thick Flashabou at the same time. So I omit it.
  3. Make sure you have a long enough hackle feather to cover the entire length of the body.

Fishing the 'Lectric Eel

I wish I could tell you that I've had raving success with this fly, but truth be told, I've only caught one bass with it. While the fly is frequently in my fly box, I have not fished it that frequently. So, I cannot impart any knowledge on how to fish it. I will recommend that you fish it with a 3x tippet, especially with a fast-action fly rod. I've tried fishing it with a 4x tippet and have whip-snapped the fly off the tippet on the back cast. It is just too heavy of a fly to fish on a light tippet. While not weighted, the fly sinks fairly well as attributed to the wire and building nail polish up on the head.


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