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Pattern Index

Don's Elver

by Don Avondolio

The elver, or young American eel, is about 3.75 inches long and is a popular prey fish for striped bass, bluefish, and other inshore, saltwater predators. Elvers are often found along shorelines and estuaries, moving slowly at various levels in the water column.

This version of an elver pattern utilizes one of the better eel-like, slithering materials -- rabbit skin. Securing a length of 40-pound-test monofilament leader to extend beyond the hook bend, and glue it to the rabbit skin with epoxy, prevents the long tail from fouling the hook on a cast.

Suggested body colors are all black, gray and green with a yellow belly.

The live action slithering motion can be increased by moving the monofilament support closer to the hook bend, but allowing too much of the tail to flow may compromise the pattern's anti-fouling design. Alternately, experiment with lighter monofilament lines to add action without fouling.


  • Hook: Size 2 through 3/0
  • Thread: Black Size A
  • Tail: Black Rabbit Skin Strip
  • Topwing: Black Bucktail
  • Belly: Yellow Bucktail
  • 40-pound-test Monofilament Leader Material
  • Stick-On Eyes
  • Epoxy


1. Wrap black thread along hook shank from behind the hook eye to the bend.

2. Cut a length of the monofilament so that it can be tied in on top of the hook shank and extend approximately 1.5 times the length of the shank beyond the bend. Melt the trailing tip of the mono into a small ball with butane lighter. Tie in the mono.

3. Cut a length of the rabbit skin approximately three times the length of the shank and tie it in about one-quarter of an inch behind the hook eye. Strip approximately one-quarter of an inch of the skin away from the tip of the tail for more action.

4. Stretch the rabbit skin back carefully, and epoxy the mono ball to the underside of the skin.

5. Tie in a sparse clump of black bucktail about one-eighth of an in behind the hook eye and over the rabbit skin. Extend the bucktail about one-third of the way over the rabbit tail beyond the bend.

6. Tie in a similar length of sparse yellow bucktail on the underside.

7. Taper the thread at the head and whip finish.

8: Add Stick-On Eyes and epoxy the head.









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