Space Age Mylar Products for Salmon? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Space Age Mylar Products for Salmon?

07-19-2006, 08:19 PM
With the advent of such new materials such as flash mylars, in either narrow strips, or chennile, in all different refractive colors and shades, salmon flies seem to still stay true to their old natural components. As a avid salt water fisherman and fly fisherman, the usage of the new components have revolutionized salt water fly tying.

During my recent visit to the Gaspe, and visiting some of the local fly shops, I noticed that the all of the traditional flies have not been altered with new materials. The rusty rat is still tied with irridescent peacock....and not green/black mylar chennile. The silver rat is still the silver rat....with just fox, monkey or squarrel tail mylar mixed in. Why is that?

Salt water flies have changed radically. Fish hair (synthetic hairs of long length) combined with mylars of all different tones and irridescence are now being used extremely effectively. Epoxy bodies, combined with strips of mylar of all different refractive colors are used to immitate sand eels while fishing false albacore, an extremely selective fish. So why not in salmon flies.

I have incorporated these new materials into some of my flies. I often make a wrap or two of mylar multi irridescence just forward of the but section on my black dose, and green butts. It lights up the fly in the water. I also add some strands of irridescence in my rats......and use the proper tone depending upon the pattern. For instance, there is a perfect match for peacock herl...... a kind of green black irredscent flash....just what peacock herl wished it could be. Some of these flies, especially the black dose with the two wraps for flash chennile ahead of the tag, and mickey finn with flash on the body and mixed into the wing, produced very well in several russian rivers.

But I didn't see that on the Gaspe. Am I just naive, or is it happening? Are you guys using these new materials, or staying with the tried and true natural stuff because of a particular reason.

Some guy once told me many years ago that if I put a spinner blade on my leader just above my fly, I would crush every salmon in the pool. He said it was an old trick, that was illegal. He then told me that if you hook and land a fish, and someone is near, just bust the leader, with fish in hand, and the spinner will fall off......leaving no evidence. I never used it even though he gave me a spinner blade. But if this were the case, wouldn't a flashy mylar streamer, with a flashy chennile body work perfectly......and be legal?


07-19-2006, 10:47 PM
Tradition has a strong influence on salmon fishing. If it's legal and works for you go for it!

The spinner trick is a bit shameful though, understanding you're just citing an example of course. I'd feel as if I'd compromised my integrity never mind breaking the law.

Ooop there's that tradition again!


07-20-2006, 06:21 AM
Thanks for being honest, and finding some controversy in what I wrote. I know we are on the same page. I do love the esthetics of this experience, and the need for tradition to perpetuate it. This is what attracts most of us to this sport. And after giving it some thought, I think the privilage of living this esthetic is earned by accepting the challenge of the hunt, and abiding by the rules set. Without rules, the challenge would be gone.

Here is where the value tradition lies. Not only does it add to the esthetic, but it perpetuates the rules and the style, keeping the challenge constant and safe. I too appreciate the tradition, and the value it brings.

As far as the "spinner blade" story, I also find it extremly "shameful" that someone on the river, posing as a sportsman, would arm himself with an illegal tool just to kill salmon, negating the rules, compromising the challenge and thus stealing the esthetic.

But do you think tying some flash into your fly, which dresses it up so nicely if intergrated properly, doesn't compromise tradition, as I see it. The fly looks better, thus adding to my esthetic, and I don't think it's cheating, as I haven't felt so much magic around my drifts lately. I was surprised actually not to have seen more flies dressed with it while up their recently.


07-20-2006, 08:12 AM
New traditions are born everyday!

Discovery is the heart of flyfishing and I guess tradition it's soul.

07-20-2006, 09:21 AM
There are a number of us that, while also using the time-trusted traditionals have been using all sorts of "new" materials for quite a while. And yes, they're quite effective. One of my best salmon fishing buddies (a traditionalist in the extreme as he feels every salmon fly, no matter the pattern should have at least on turn of peacock herl) who has chided me for years for using "flash" has finally come around . . . he adds some to some of his patterns. But he still has at least one turn of herl on his flies.
The Gaspé especially seems slow to take on change . . . but when the effectiveness is demonstrated, they accept and adapt.

07-21-2006, 10:20 AM
I'd say that synthetic flash is pretty well established in European salmon flies. We don't have much of a tradition of peacock herl bodies, so chenille is perhaps less relevant to us, but using flash in a wing or tail is quite normal. A number of recent patterns, such as the Cascade (arguably the most popular fly in the last few years), and Templedogs and Pot-Bellied Pigs in various colour schemes, include flash as a standard part of the dressing, but many tiers incorporate it into older patterns as well.

Salar 33
07-21-2006, 03:13 PM
Dear Gardener,

I am on my way to Scotland to fish bottom Tay during the second half of August. Stanley and below. Can you give me a tip or two on what flies you would cast?

I tend to like tradition, but like landing fish far better.

All the best,


Willie Gunn
07-21-2006, 04:57 PM
I, such as the Cascade (arguably the most popular fly in the last few years),

Charlie, Cascade, don't you mean a Willie Gunn tied shrimp style

07-21-2006, 08:05 PM
i can't really speak for "pure" atlantic salmon fishing, but for the pacific species that run in the great lakes, the new material is used quite a bit. likewise, for the landlock atlantics in new york, i use the "new materials" for all of my flies.
as for what you saw in the fly shop, i am reminded of the saying:
"flies tied for the shop are meant to catch anglers; flies tied for personal use are meant to catch fish.":devil:
i'd be interested to see what the guides carry in their boxes for personal use compared to what they tie on clients' lines.

07-22-2006, 09:35 AM
Charlie, Cascade, don't you mean a Willie Gunn tied shrimp style

Well, as I recall, the inventor of the Willie Gunn was trying to create a fly that replicated the Thunder & Lightning, but could be tied in the round on tubes. So if anything, the Cascade might be called a shrimp-style T&L (although, of course, it differs from the T&L and the WG in using silver rather than gold tinsel). And on this basis, presumably you will change your forum name to 'Thunder and Lightning Tied in the Round'. :p

Salar33, I'm no expert on the Tay. I fished it once about 10 years ago and had a couple of fish on an (original version) Ally's Shrimp. I'm sure that they (tied with or without a bit of flash in the tail), and some of the other flies in the family (eg Tummel Shrimp and Cascade) would be a good starting point. Also some conventional hairwings such as Stoats Tails, Silver Stoats, Munro Killers and so on. Incidentally, the river is on its bones at present, but I think that polyleaders are quite widely used on the lower Tay, even in lowish water, and if you have a bit of a rise of water you may want an intermediate or slow sink line.

For further information, you might like to look at Ally Gowans' site: letsflyfish dot com (he invented the Ally's shrimp). There's also a short section on tackle advice on fishtay dot co dot uk. Finally, try the salmon fishing forum: http://salmosalar.proboards80 dot com, where there are a number of Tay fishermen who are generally quite generous with their advice.

07-22-2006, 10:19 AM
Bill ,sorry ,but a lot of us in Qc. are experimenting with new materials AND new flies. There's some really radical flies out there:smokin: Go to the Surace Stonefly thread in Salmon and Steelhead Flies. Ever notice most folk tie up the green body black wing version? Well there's some more dynami (some radical) and much better Quebecois versions out there !

07-23-2006, 07:35 AM
Hi Brian
Yes when I get a chance, I'll post a pic of an electric blue version of the stonefly (in Oregon at the moment and unable to post pics). I hope your season's going well and things have picked up.