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Wilkinson Sunray step by step

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I got a little thick with the materials on this particular fly but was reluctant to do a second for this post. Trying to get good photos while tying is hard enough without having a redo.....

First thing to know is that I use the Pro Sportfisher line of tube fly components, you may have HMH or another brand so you may have to skip some things or not.

I am now using the 40mm tubing with the extension cut to about 1/2 inch behind the body of the fly. Having a shorter extension keeps the hook from having the materials wrap around the hook during use.

You can see both the uncut and a trimmed tube there, I am using a 15mm cylinder drop weight on the tube as shown. A dab of Super Glue gel helps to insure the weight will not want to rotate on the tubing.

After the weight is on the tube build a thread dam in front of the weight then wrap the weight about 1/4 inch back with tying thread. This sets up where the materials will begin to be attached and also secures that weight to the tubing.

First under wing material is Hot Pink Arctic Fox, a very sparse bunch.

Now Kingfisher Blue Fox, be sure to remove all the under hairs from the fox bunches to reduce bulk which will promote good flowing movement of the hairs in the river.

Tie this bunch in reverse, this is done to promote the fibers to rise at an angle above the tubing / body.

Split the fiber bunch in half and pull the first bunch rearward and bind it with thread. Then grasp the remaining fibers and pull them back over the first and bind them down also.

The technique of reversing the bunches of fibers when tied on and then splitting them into 2 sections as you secure them rearward makes a small amount of material seem much more full while cutting down on bulk in the overall fly. Bulk = water retention and weight when casting...

Now a large black schlappen hackle is wound on. This adds fine near weightless fibers which flow well in current and at the same time hides all the messy connection points from the work so far.

Hackle wound it's time for the black hair, I have found this Cashmere Goat hair to be the finest natural fibers available and it swims like a leech in the current.

Another reversed application and then split into 2 bunches and tied rearward.

I use just 3 strands of Flashabou and double them backward to create 6 strands, 3 on each flank of the fly. Color is kind of a black blue looking thing not listed on the binder....

Now, in front of what you see there add a second small bunch of Goat hair tied onto the body in traditional fashion and trim the butts of the fibers very cleanly. Add cheeks / eyes if you have a suitable material and you should be looking something like this or better I hope.

Incidentally, Pro Sportfisher offers die cut printed Jungle Cock that is the finest I've ever used. Unlike that natural feather they will never split. I'm waiting for a reorder to arrive or would have used them instead of naturals.

All that remains is to tie off the thread and trim the front / unused portion of the tube and melt it gently back. This helps secure the finish point. Notice I have reversed the tube on the mandrel; this allows the tube to be melted while retaining the hole through which you thread the leader.

Be very sparing with that flame when melting the tubing. This is the point where you can ruin half an hours work in an instant!

As I said at the very beginning I went a bit heavy with the materials but can assure you this fly will catch whatever is in the water when used. I've caught salmon, steelhead, char, grayling and plenty of rainbows on them. That is exactly why I go to all this bother making them. That hook is a size #8 egg type hook sold at Sportsman's Warehouse, 50 in a pack for right around $10.00

The hooks have held without bending all but twice. One was a very large and turned Silver Salmon whit nothing but bone and teeth inside the jaws and the other time was a Chum in similar condition. I believe I bent the hooks while trying to remove them. Recently the hooks held to land 5 steelhead - 8 big rainbows and about 20 char between one foot and 18 inches of length. I like them because they are small enough not to damage most fish to any great extent. If you pinch the barb they are a guilt free trip.

Comment here or on the thread.


  1. eastfly66's Avatar
    Do you ties these in other color combos too Ard ?
  2. Ard's Avatar
    Kinda but I stick with black a lot and when I change I like that dark burnt brown (Fiery Brown) I think they call it, Arctic Fox tail pieces. They are a decent trout color but I tie the black on 99% of the time.

    I made more and cleaned things up a bit, hint, don't start as far back on the tube as I showed in the step by step. I ended the tying at the front tip of the weight tube and then made a clean head on the small plastic tubing.

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