Fly Tying: Seeing Red…………..

Red used to be a hot spot of sorts for fly patterns. The fly patterns that sat in plastic bins in hardware stores (pre-flyshop/online sales days) sometimes had that red hackled-fibered tail. There has been a recent spurt of hot colored beads and hackles that allow for that insertion of a bright ‘hot spot’ to perhaps attract the take.

hot spots collage

If you do any research on colors and their visibility in water, you learn the color red supposedly fades first as it descends down through the water…past depths of 10 feet. Is it even worth the effort to include a hot spot? Is red even visible on that tail or beard (suggesting gills or blood)? Well, I have experimented with hot colors of orange, blue, chartreuse, red and have had the best results with red.

streamer beard sbExperimentation is a very special part of fly tying and fishing for me and many fly fishers. Experiment with colors. Sometimes it is a one time success and sometimes the experiment yields years of special moments. All part of the fun.

3 Responses to “Fly Tying: Seeing Red…………..”

  1. 1 craig
    March 24, 2013 at 07:35

    i think it’s the contrast of the bead or the tail that pulls the fish in.

    i experimented with standard nymph patterns adding red, orange, yellow and chartreuse hot spots.
    yellow and chartreuse worked when it worked, zero consistency.
    red seems to work well for brookies and rainbows. as well as most of the species i usually fish for.
    orange seems to produce more browns than does red. it also is a carp magnet locally.

    for dries i’ve always carried a couple of royal wullfs or beetle bugs. the last five or six years i’ve substituted bright orange for red thread. the performance topwater followed my subsurface experiments.

    streamers with a red beard or head have also been more productive for me than patterns without them .

    interesting post as always.


  2. March 23, 2013 at 12:13


    It’s been along time since I frequented this site, I came back a few days ago and instantly found several articles that reminded me of why I came here so often a few years ago. Thank you for keeping up the work of bringing all of us new and interesting material. Take care



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