Fly Tying with UV: Minnows & Baitfish

Part 2: Minnows and Baitfish

If you haven't read part 1 of this series, read it here. The important thing to capture from the intro is that we're NOT focusing on the black light effect you get when you shine a UV light onto fly tying materials or other surfaces (like a white shirt). We are rather focusing, especially in this article, on the natural UV Reflectance (UVR) that baitfish exhibit. If you're interested in more information, read the book talked about in the first part.

So the bottom line here is that there is ample evidence that predatory fish will stalk and hunt their prey based, at least partially, on the UVR signature of the prey. With that in mind, and also considering that fish and insects also use UVR signatures for attracting mates and that fish can and do use UVR to identify valid insects for food (vs say a twig), it's important to at least consider using these types of materials in your patterns. Upon reading "the book", I started to look both at natural UVR materials as well as some of the cool things Spirit River has been doing with their UV2 line. So we put in a couple of orders and began incorporating those materials into some patterns.

big brown trout streamer
Big Browns like the big flies like the Snot Goblin.

The main materials to focus on with this pattern is the Dos Jailed Rabbit strips and the awesome Schlappen -- both from Spirit River's UV2 line. I'm not going to go into details on what Spirit River has been doing with these UV2 materials, but you really should read about it from our friends at Frankenfly or directly from the dudes at Spirit River. Also, you can see some video on it here:

Again, lest we face the wrath of any doubting fly tyers out there, we're not suggesting this is the panacea of fly tying, but read the stuff in the previous links here so you can get an idea of where we're coming from.

articulated streamer snot goblin spirit river uv2

The idea, again, is that we're hoping to add one additional piece of "pattern matching" that the fish can key on when being enticed to eat our imitation offerings. This specific pattern is obviously an attractor style streamer but has a pretty heavy UVR signature, given the use of the schlappen and the rabbit strips, so we're asserting that it can also double as a good little baitfish pattern.

And lastly, it's always fun to mess around with cool new materials. So give it a whirl...

Note:  The eyes have been updated in the recipe below.

Material List

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Hook: Daiichi 1710 - 2X Long Nymph Hook - 4     
Thread: Danville Flat Waxed Nylon Thread - 140 Denier - White     
Tail/Body: Tiger Barred Rabbit Strips - Black Barred Chartreuse over White     
Body/Beard: Arizona Simi Seal - Crystal     
Hackle: Schlappen - Fl. Chartreuse     
Beads: 3D Articulation Beads - Light Olive     
Wire: Articulation Wire     
Eyes: Double Pupil Lead Eyes - Large - Chartr w/ White & Black