The Gurgler is no doubt the #1 top water fly for saltwater grass flats. Yeah there’s the Crease Fly, Redfish poppers and pencil poppers, but for my money and tying time, the Gurgler is the most efficient and effective top water pattern. They can be fancy or simple, baitfish or shrimp, bright and shiny or subtle and dull. Tie a simple tail on a hook, a piece of foam bent forward over a simple body and you have the Gurgler. Stripped fast or slow over the grass or close to flooded mangroves, the Gurgler can bring explosive strikes from trout, redfish, snook, ladyfish, mangrove snapper and assorted other stuff.
Years ago, I capitalized on a common characteristic found in most hard baits—rattles. Fly rattles, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes can easily be incorporated into the Gurgler pattern. A fly rattle secured to the hook shank before adding other materials does not alter the shape or performance of the Gurgler. Yet, now the fly emits a subtle rattle as you twitch it across the surface.
My favorite Gurgler setup in my 7 weight Scott Meridian, SA Amplitude Grand Slam floating line and 10-foot (15#) RIO leaders. Long casts, even in the wind allows me to cover a lot of water while wading but not spook fish. When you see that bait disturbance off in the distance or along the mangroves, try and get within 70-80 feet and toss a Gurgler into the mix. You never know what’s going to smack it.
A hefty Redfish fell to a rattle Gurgler at Desoto
I write more about fly fishing and fly tying at: Mike @ J. Stockard Fly Fishing