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Glass Minnow SBS
Glass Minnow SBS
Classic saltwater pattern for imitating small baitfish like glass minnows, bay anchovies and fry. Easy to tie and effective.
Published by peregrines
Default Glass Minnow SBS

[Center]Glass Minnow
Glass Minnow Click the image to open in full size.
Type of fly saltwater bucktail streamer baitfish
Originator of pattern Carl Hansen of St. Petersburg, Florida
Tied and submitted by peregrines
Level of tying experience needed to tie this pattern Beginner, a fairly simple pattern using basic tying skills. Another must learn saltwater pattern, this is first in a series of beginner saltwater fly tying lessons.
Materials Listed in order of tie in
Hook Standard Saltwater, Mustad 34007 size 2 here
Thread your choice, Gray Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon here
Tail None
Overbody Optional, in this case 12lb test Ande monofilament is tied in and will be wrapped over body braid for increased durability. The wraps of mono are made with touching turns, not an open spiral as a rib. Other materials such as V-Rib can also be used.
Body your choice of body wrap, Gold Body Braid used here (a braided flat mylar similar products include Sparkle Braid, Diamond Braid). Mylar tubing, chenille are also commonly used for bodies.
Wing Your choice of bucktail or other material tied directly on top of shank, length of wing from tie in point approximately 2x shank. The tips of the bucktail are roughly evened by hand rather than stacked to give a more natural appearance in the water. In this case mixed olive and green bucktail over mixed yellow and chartreuse bucktail. Mixing was done by blending the colored strands together in each layer before tying to the hook.
Topping Optional, in this case 6 strands of peacock herl, just a bit longer than length of wing
Lateral line Optional, in this case one strand of Silver Saltwater Flashabou are tied in along the middle of the wing on each side
Head Thread covered with 2-3 coats of your favorite head cement, in this case Sally Hansens Hard As Nails
Eyes Optional. Eyes can be omitted, be stick-on prismatic eyes using a CA glue (like Zap-A-Gap or Superglue), or as in this case, acrylic paint yellow with black pupil
Materials Clockwise from top left: Salt water hook..... Strung Peacock Herl...... Saltwater width Silver Flashabou...... Gold Body Braid....... Chartreuse and White Bucktails....... Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon (Gray here)...... any clear 12-20lb monofilament for optional over body (Ande Monofilament here) Click the image to open in full size.
Tie on thread one hook eye length behind eye Click the image to open in full size.
Wrap thread in an even layer towards rear of hook and tie in a length of monofilament directly above barb, with a 6" length extending out over rear of hook. This will become the overbody. Click the image to open in full size.
Bind down butt end of monofilament securely with thread wraps to front of hook Click the image to open in full size.
Return thread to rear of hook with additional wraps and tie on a measured 12" length of gold body braid. The 12" length is well in excess of what you will need for the body of 1 fly, but by measuring after the body is completed using simple subtraction you will now know how much you will need for tying a body on this size hook. By using the 12" length of braid to tie multiple flies at a sitting you will also cut down on waste. The butt end of the body braid should extend to the eye of the hook so it will form a smooth underbody, and can be securely bound to the hook shank by thread wraps. Click the image to open in full size.
Wrap thread over the butt end of the body braid to form a smooth underbody and leave thread hanging from the tie in point. This will become the front end of the body Click the image to open in full size.
Wrap the body braid forward in close touching turns and secure with thread at the front end of the body. Trim excess and measure length of remaining strand of body braid. How much did you use for the body on this hook? Click the image to open in full size.
Wrap the monofilament forward in close touching turns over the body braid and secure at the front end of the body with several tight thread wraps. Click the image to open in full size.
Trim excess monofilament and form a smooth thread base for the bucktail wing Click the image to open in full size.
We will be making a 2 layer bucktail wing with a topping of peacock herl. Typically a light color is used on the bottom and a darker color of bucktail on top to mimic the coloration typical of many baitfish. Select a sparse bunch of white bucktail anywhere from the tip to 2/3 of the way down the bucktail. Solid hair from the upper portion of the bucktail will be easier to work with than hollow hair from the base of the bucktail which has a tendency to flare outward under thread tension. This will eliminate one possible source of problems for beginning tyers, but you will also learn to handle hair from the base of the bucktail by adjusting thread tension and using the flaring tendency to flare to your advantage in the step by steps for other patterns in this series. Click the image to open in full size.
Even up the tips of the bucktail by hand by plucking out the longer hairs and realigning them with the remaining tips in the bundle. You may need to repeat this step a few times until the tips are roughly even. Measure the bucktail wing to a length of 2 x length from the tie in point of the hook shank, with the tips extending out over the rear of the hook. We'll use the Angle Wrap to tie on the first layer of bucktail. With butts pointing down at a 45 degree angle on the near side of the hook, take a couple tight turns of thread around the shank and the bucktail Click the image to open in full size.
With additional tight wraps the bucktail bundle will migrate up to the top of the shank from the thread torque. When the white bundle of bucktail is in place on the top of the shank, bind down the bundle and secure it with thread wraps and trim the butts. Click the image to open in full size.
Select a bundle for the second layer of bucktail (Chartreuse in this example) also from the top 2/3 of the bucktail. Even up the tips as before and measure 2x the shank length (same length as white layer) on top of the tie in point. We'll use a pinch wrap to secure the second wing layer since the thread tension necessary for an Angle Wrap may move the lower white bucktail layer out of position from the top of the shank over to the far side of the shank. Click the image to open in full size.
Trim the butts of the Chartreuse bucktail Click the image to open in full size.
Next we'll secure a length of silver Flashabou along each side to the form the lateral line of the baitfish. The length of the flashabou should extend about 2/3 the length of the wing on each side. Align one end of a length of Flashabou the correct length on the near side and bind down the Flashabou in front of the wing, and fold the remaining flashabou over the shank. Hold it in place along the wing on the far side of the shank and take several turns of thread to bind it in place. Using one length of flashabou tied in the middle will be more secure than tying in a length of flashabou on each side of the wing and it will be less likely to pull out. Trim the flashabou on the far side to match the length on the near side (2/3 length of the wing) Click the image to open in full size.
Select 4 to 6 herls from a pack of strung peacock herl and align the tips. This will become the topping for the wing and is a good imitation for the dark color found on the top of many baitfish. Measure the length of the topping so that the tips of the aligned herl extend from the wing tie in point to just beyond the end of the bucktail wing, and tie them in using a pinch wrap. Click the image to open in full size.
Trim the excess herl. Click the image to open in full size.
In the water material will compress on retrieve into a baitfish shape. The fly is tied at this point so form a neat head tie off with a whip finish and cut thread. Coat with a layer or two of head cement. You can add eyes using acrylic paint or by using a Cyanoacrylate glue (a "CA glue" like Zap-A-Gap Super Glue) to stick on prismatic eyes. If you add eyes either painted or prismatic, cover with an additional coat of twp of head cement or Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails Click the image to open in full size.
Special Tying Notes This dressing works well, but consider this a style of tying rather than a specific pattern and feel free to experiment with different hook sizes, colors, and materials to imitate local baitfish. Note that by just using a wing and a standard shank you can imitate relatively small baitfish on a large gap hook. For example to imitate a 3" baitfish with a Lefty's Deceiver (a baitfish pattern with a tail) might require a size 4 hook, and a 3" freshwater bucktail like a Black Nosed Dace with just a wing tied on a 4 xlong shank might be on a size 6 hook. By contrast you could tie a 3" glass minnow on a bigger and stronger standard shank 1/0 hook- so it's an excellent choice if you're fishing for big fish that are feeding on very small baitfish.
Target Species Snook, False Albacore, Striped Bass, Redfish, Weakfish, etc
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