Kelson Sun Fly (yellow version) - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 10-19-2003, 06:08 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Kelson Sun Fly (yellow version)

Here is a Kelson Sun Fly (yellow version) as I told Fred to check out. It is a very good fly in bright sun, low-water conditions during summer and fall. I fish it on dry line with a long leader of about 17 feet. It works best in riffly water and tail outs that are less than 4 feet deep. Also, remember to tie it small, this is tied on a #10 hook. It should never be tied larger than a #8 and I found it works best in #10 and #12, which incidently coincides with the size Kelson recommends (he says it should be never larger than 3/4" and that is is better when tied 1/2" or smaller).

The Kelson Sun Fly is found is his book "The Salmon Fly" published in 1895 and republished several times since. The book is available through Fly Fisher's Classic Library, which is where I got my copy 8 years ago when they first released it. It is well worth the money for anyone interested in Featherwing, full-dressed flies.

The "Sun Fly" by Kelson can be tied in red, blue, orange, yellow, and purple variants. To change it to the other variants: 10 change the floss tag to the color of the variant (i.e. to red for the red variant or purple for the purple variant); 2) change the red body yarn to orange or blue for the orange and blue variants respectively; 3) change the yellow yarn to purple for the purple version; and 4) change the blue and yellow Macaw horns to scarlet macaw on the red, orange, and purple versions if you tie the horns on the fly.

The blue and yellow Macaw horns tied over the wings on the original (as it was tied on pictured fly and my prefered way to tie and fish it) can be left off with little or no change to its effectiveness.

Anyhow, here is the Kelson Sun Fly (yellow version)
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Old 10-19-2003, 07:31 PM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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That is one very cool fly!

Can you print up the tieing instruction? Can guess at most but not sure of the 'topping.'
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Old 10-19-2003, 07:35 PM
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SDHflyfisher SDHflyfisher is offline
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in those small sizes that fly should work for trout also
Tight Lines
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Old 10-19-2003, 10:16 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Oops! I appologize to you and the others for leaving the pattern recipe out of the post. I should not have done that.

The Kelson Sun Fly is tied thus:

hook: salmon iron #8 to #12
tip: fine oval silver or small flat silver tinsel
tag: yellow floss (yellow version)
tail: G.P. crest (known as a G.P. topping)
body: red, yellow, black yarn spiralled and in cigar shape
hackle: black cock
wing: G.P. crest (topping) feathers, 4 to 6
horns: blue and gold Macaw (1 single fiber on each top-side of

Red version: red floss tag and scarlet Macaw horns.

Orange version: orange floss tag, orange yarn instead of red
in body, and scarlet Macw horns.

Purple version: purple floss tag, purple instead of yellow yarn in
body, and scarlet Macaw horns.

blue version: blue floss tag, blue instead of red yarn in body, and
blue and yellow Macaw horns.

The materials are tied in the order given. The topping wings will prove to be the hardest part of tying this fly. The need to be tied on so that the first topping sits on the top center of body, and then the next one sits right on top of the one below, and so on until 4 to 6 have been tied in. Flattening the stem of the topping where it will be tied in with smooth jaw pliers helps in this immensely. Also, the toppings need to be tied in so that the first one tied in is the shortest and the last one is the longest or the wing will not look ballanced or full enough.

One last thing to keep in mind with using toppiings for wings or when added to the top of a feather wing is make sure you tie them in with only 2 wraps of thread per topping. Then after the last one is tied in, add just 2 more wraps of thread and hold on to the topings with your thumb and fingers of your left hand (ringt hand if tying left-handed) before cuting the stems as close to the tie in point as possible without cutting the thread (trust me, if you cut the thread, you will cuss a blue streak because it will ruin the set of the toppings). Then add some glue to the very short (nearly non-existent) topping stubs, tightly wrap the flattened thread (done by spinning the bobbin conter clockwise until the thread looks like a very fine strand of floss) while the glue is wet until the stubs are covered with thread, take one wrap of thread bak to the root of the wing, and whip finish. This lkeep the head small and ensures the wing will nor pull out.
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