Sunray Shadow & Collie Dog tube fly
Sunray Shadow one of the most famous tube flies ever. Designed by UK angler Raymond Brooks in the 60´s – Sunray Shadow is A must-have fly in the fly box for anglers pursuing fresh giant salmon on big river systems.
Tube flies with a long wing like the Sunray Shadow and Collie Dog is a unique set of flies in the world of salmon flies. These flies with their simple expression is favored on many rivers across the Northern hemisphere, and they are often associate with salmon fishing in the witching hour … but they can be used in all kinds of fishing situations and is a valuable asset in the fly box
The Sunray shadow story
The Sunray Shadow or; Brooks Sunray Shadow is yet another mythical fly and a must-have in the salmon fly box. Originally designed by late British salmon angler Mr. Raymond Brooks (Ray Brooks)
In the early 60´s Ray traveled through Norway to find the perfect salmon river. He did so with his wife Margit, and they found the rivers in the districts of Møre & Romsdal where they fished for many years.
Ray and Margit had a timber log cabin build at Hellesylt by the Korsbrekke River. To let the salmon reach further into the river system Ray had three different salmon ladders made. Sadly the log cabin was taken by a snow avalanche in the spring of 1985.
Every summer Margit and Ray would fish the fantastic Årøy (Aaroy) River that yield the biggest average weight of salmon on earth, but their favorite of rivers was the majestic lærdal (Laerdal) River that runs to the Sognefjord. A river that had a historic run of big Atlantic salmon and a sea-trout.
The lærdal (Laerdal) River was known as the Queen of salmon rivers and Ray and Margit held the lease for the river from 1966 until the mid 90´s when this and other rivers in the region saw a devastating outbreak and infestation of the salmon parasite Gyrodactylus salaris
The Lærdal River is gin clear and of medium size which made it possible to reach the river from the bank. It is in these fabulous surroundings that Ray Brooks creates the Sunray Shadow fly. The first fly was done in the early 60´s – and the Sunray Shadow soon proved so good that Ray and Margit started a production of the flies.
The flies were tied on tubes designed exclusively for the purpose, consisting of a inner and outer tube, allowing a tube fly hook to rest in the back-end of the tube. Hair from monkey was used in the design of the wing. The monkey hair came out of a carpet that friend and fellow angler from Switzerland had in his living room. Later Ray found a supplier of the hairs needed and finally also made a registered pattern on the fly that he named: The Sunray Shadow.
The Sunray Shadow fly was tied commercially for the Brooks family by Danish company Lawcock and later with fly tiers in Singapore.
The Collie Dog flyHair from dogs can defiantly be top-notch fly tying material but it is illegal to sell hair from dogs or cats in Europa – so if you can get your hands on some long-haired canines it is worth your while sweet talking the owner into a bit of trimming. The Collie dog breed comes in many shapes and colors I prefer to be sociable with these two critters: Border Collie or Rough Collie
Collie Dog and Sunray Shadow is names closely linked with long-winged flies, and you will find variations of these famous salmon tube flies in fly fishing shops around the world.Here a 1 inch Collie Dog pearl version with a 3 inch wing
The Collie Dog fly is an old Scottish fly pattern designed in the late 18´century. It was probably one of the very first, if not the first hair-wing salmon fly ever, to be deployed on a salmon river.
Still today it`s argued whether it is UK or US anglers who rightfully can take the claim for the salmon hair-fly project ?
The Collie Dog was originally designed to be tied on double or single hook`s – Today most Collie Dogs is tied on tube – with or without the silver body. As hair from Collie (Border Collie) can be hard to get, most anglers will settle for quality hair from goat like the Kashmir GoatHere a version of the Collie Dog actually tied with hair from a Border Collie
Stunning 100 cm probably 22 lbs salmon caught on the Collie Dog tube fly displayed on the page above. The Collie Dog fished fast (hand lined) square across the fish in fast water - A highly productive way to fish the Collie Dog and Sunray Shadow fly. Rod: Sage Z-AXIS 11`# 8 Line: Lee Wulff Steelhead Taper # 9 See line in shop
Fishing tube flies with long hair
These flies with their long wavy wing can have a hypnotic grip on salmon. Presented correctly the salmon will go to great length to intercept a fly like the Sunray Shadow or Collie Dog, often chasing the fly across the river – hitting it in a spectacular manner much in the way they attack a wobbler, spoon or spinner – When fishing keep your eye on the fly and bring it all the way in to the bank…this is one fly that salmon will stay with all the way – and it might hit it the last second.
When fishing close to the surface with long-winged flies anglers often see the salmon reacting to the fly by splashing or waking, something that can be quite useful – when you actually want to find out if the pool holds fish or not. Flies like these are also named: lifters or Reaction flies…Here a Pearl and Green Sunray Shadow Buy fly
Speed killsWhen summer arrives and water starts heating up – speed seems to be a key word with these flies, and anglers will fish it in ways to generate speed – this could be done with floating or intermediate line fished straight across the river. By hand-lining the fly back, in long pulls. By mending the fly line downstream to generate a belly, hereby increasing the pull on the fly line and so the speed of the fly.
Working with size
Big is not always better and particularly not when it comes to salmon. In relation to this it is well worth keeping different sizes of these special flies in the box – Although a 2 inch Collie Dog or Sunray Shadow might seem big when other anglers work with tiny # 10`s – 12´s in hot water – it can still be surprisingly efficient to use these flies fished very close to the surface.Here a Riffling Hitch version of the Sunray Shadow tied with hair from Zebra Goat ™
We use a selection of flies in the range from 2 to + 6 inches. The 3 1/2 inch version being the regular fly on most rivers, and the smaller versions for low water summer conditions – The bigger flies are made for early season fishing and even in low temperature; 5 – 6 degrees Celsius (41 – 43 degrees Fahrenheit) – salmon will come right to the top to grab themWe also bring out the big Sunray Shadow flies when summer turns into autumn, in those precious hours when everything starts turning dark… Here the big Sunray Shadow might be the best choice for those local salmon becoming restless and agitated in the dark See other big Sunray Shadows in the E-shop
What does these big flies represent ?
Anglers often wonder why such and such fly is efficient ? – Some flies like; prawn-flies and nymphs are more obvious than others.
Long winged flies like the Collie Dog and the Sunray Shadow is often mentioned in relationship with glass eels or juvenile eels – a food sours that the Atlantic salmon could meet in the sea on its way to and from the river (in European waters often in size 40 – 45 millimeters – 1.6 – 1.8 inches)
In terms of food look-alike`s we believe that these big flies could represent a broad spectra of critters that the salmon could meet throughout it´s entire life at sea, like; sand eels, herring, sprats, prawns and juvenile eels – All erratic moving food that the salmon will have to react to very decisively.
The parr fly
Another big wing fly we have had success with throughout the years is a version of the classic Blue Charm. The wing of the fly is tied up of sections of silver tippet squirrel – with its contrast marked body it is to give the impression of a salmon parr – Fly is fished slowly over freshly arrived salmon that often will attack it ferociously.The big Blue Charm Parr fly – A tube fly for super fresh salmon …especially from the beginning of August
The recipe to success
We have all our long-winged Sunray Shadow and Collie Dog flies tied on our Flexible plastic tube with the exception of the occasional fly tied on an aluminum tube. If we need to fish further below the surface we rather use a sink tip or full sinking line, than use weight on the fly – It is as the fly looses some of it´s fish catching abilities when weighted down to much.
Hooks for long wing flies
Fishing with these special flies is a action filled sport and you will feel fish hitting and pulling the fly during a fishing session – Ever so often these same fish will have a go at the fly more than one time – as long as they haven’t touched the hook.
We use both single, double and treble hooks on these flies and recommend that you set a small blob of glue in the fork of the double and treble hooks. This will to some extend, prevent the hairs from getting seriously entangle in the construction of the hook. Getting the wing caught up in the bend of the hook is an inevitable part of fishing flies with long soft hair and to make sure everything is working as intended, one has to check the fly on a regular basis – Obviously an annoying hassle – but it is well worth the effort to put the time into the long wing project.
Good things for big flies
The perfect dimensions – strong and inexpensive
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