Sun ray shadows - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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Sun ray shadows

I am going to tie up some of these cool sun rays. Most of the recipes call for bucktail. Is there are reason that arctic fox would not work? It is generally finer than bucktail, but it seems like it would work???

If everybody used shoe horns, they'd catch 'em all on shoe horns.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 11:45 AM
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I think the fox would have more movement but also retain some water when casting. Try it, see what happens.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Good point. One of the selling points of the sun ray is that you can sling it a long way. Even in the gentle breezes (ha) of the Rio Grande, a sparse sun ray is your friend. I will tie up a few and see. I can't see that fox versus bucktail it would make much difference to the fish, and in Scotland they tie up this critter using collie dog (!!!) that is closer to fox than bucktail, and those seem to work...... But I am just learning. I am not nearly the fisherman or tie-er as many of the people who contribute to this site.
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If everybody used shoe horns, they'd catch 'em all on shoe horns.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outerhebrides View Post
I am not nearly the fisherman or tie-er as many of the people who contribute to this site.
Me either. It's all just trial and error and experimental for me.

Dan


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 06:34 PM
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I use Arctic Fox and squirrel for the wings on my Sunday Shadows both work well. The Arctic Fox has nice movement. Most of my Sundayís are small in size and very simple not much to them can be fished regularly or hitched (hole in side of tube). The one issue with the Arctic Fox on longer wings is its more prone to get wrapped around the hook, etc. Pictured are Sunrayís with Arctic Fox on the upper fly and Squirrel on the lower flies.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hole in side of tube. That is a new one for me. Brilliant.

If everybody used shoe horns, they'd catch 'em all on shoe horns.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 09:07 PM
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I use arctic fox on small streamers. It is entirely different from bucktail.

First, it is packed with dense kinky underhair and it can take some patience to separate all of it from the guard hairs. It is far more supple than bucktail so it becomes very streamlined when wet so your profile is radically different than bucktail. If you don't remove much of the underhair, it is like a sponge. You can remove different proportions to achieve different effects.

For all of that, it is far more "alive" than bucktail. I have been experimenting with cones to create a vortex which does seem to add body. I frequently create a wing with a mix of arctic fox with enough structural foundation of bucktail to get that movement without sacrificing too much profile.

I think less is more when tying any streamer so most of my flies are pretty sparse. When I look at some flies I try to think how to minimize them. It kills me to see a fish come up and have a look then decide the fly belongs in a Mardi Gras parade instead of in its mouth. What looks good to us doesn't seem to look so good to an older educated fish. I suppose that might not be an issue to a salmon or sea trout but our local fish are well schooled in recognizing frauds.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 09:45 PM
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The original, classic formula for Sunray Shadows is:

Plastic tube
On top of tube, white bucktail
Next natural brown bucktail
Next several strands of peacock herl
Top wing black colobus monkey

If you can find it, colobus works beautifully, however, it's pretty expensive.
For years, I've used black human hair. The last I purchased in a women's hair styling shop in Portland. It flows beautifullly.

The underwings of bucktail enhance to prevent the herl and top wing from wrapping around the tube.

I've also tied many variations of Sunrays of widely different sizes using underwings of various colors. Plus plastic, aluminum, brass and copper tubes.

Here's the classic pattern with colobus:
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 11:48 PM
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If you don’t have a stiffer 1st wing you can experience some serious hook fouling! That’s why they used bucktail.

I use a short piece of Snowrunner or polar bear then Goat hair.

If you are going to do all Fox it helps to wind a hackle through the body much like a spey fly. This will help keep the fox off the hook

I have 4 Sunday’s on the far left of this pic. 2 classic and 2 with hackle
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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thank you for much good advice.

If everybody used shoe horns, they'd catch 'em all on shoe horns.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outerhebrides View Post
Hole in side of tube. That is a new one for me. Brilliant.
This makes the tube a rifflehitch. (You also use a special knot on shanks.) Making the fly skating on the surface in a tilt. You need the hole on certain side depending on which side of the river you fish
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 07:33 AM
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I used to put holes in the sides for skating, but now only put one hole in the bottom. Works perfectly . . . never have to worry about which side to use.
Bill
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 11:03 AM
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Thing is, a Sunray is an aggressive "pulling " flee by and large, at the least it's cast square and fished fast, very much an elver/ small fish/sandeel imitator.
Much as it looks good and in theory should work better, softer winging material tends to tangle greatly, wraps round the hook and get in the way.
Sunrays are typically fished in the top 1ft of water, off a floater and long leader or with an inty. head and maybe a poly. to get a bit of depth. Very much flee's for running fresh fish.
A collie Dog is a completely different flee altogether.A Highland flee, as said made originally with Collie Dog hair, its a big often very big flee up to 7" of winging, originally used for dibbling Highland rivers early season in the small pots and runs etc, the size used to bring fish up from the depths when its was cold early season, best fished in the surface film, often quickly, or led and "washed" across likely holding area's.Very much a flee to irritate the hell out of resting/holding fish.Often produces spectacular takes!, you need good nerves to fish this flee properly!.
No doubt some of you are thinking Monkey flee's too.Exactly where the demarkation point for theses flee's is and how each should be tied and fished will be a moot point to some and an exact science to others.Having choices and options is never a bad thing!
Yorkie.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 04:42 PM
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Can anyone weigh in on the use of arctic runner for both the top and bottom wing? I tied up several with arctic runner underwing, arctic runner overwing, a bit of flash and some JC. I like the looks, but I wonder if I am getting enough wiggle.
Thanks!
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 06:56 PM
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Doesn't anyone else tie these with a trailing hook on a shank? I've tied and used them and it takes care of the fouling problem. For the wing I usea fairly fine but slightly kinky brown hair (LOL, it' just a nasty patch I had lying around, unlabeled; I am not sure what it is. Any theories?). The hair has a fair amount of underfur (like polar bear). I keep a lot of the underfur to give the fly a bit of shoulder and a very streamlined look (due to the sparser long hair). I add a bit of flash or p-herl as accents. Body is a gold or silver tag and fine prismatic sparkle braid to keep the silhouette lean. Takes 5 minutes to tie (about my attention span) and it has caught a good number of Atlantic salmon for me.
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