RAY'S FLY: Submitted by Plugman

Ray Bondorew tells an interesting story in his book, Stripers and Streamers, of how the Ray’s Fly came about. He had been unsuccessfully fishing a hole on the Narragansett Shore one morning without success. He stopped fishing and took time to study what bait was evident. Noticing the bait had an olive cast; he rummaged thru his fly box in hopes of matching the bait. All he found was a fly with some white, yellow and green bucktail. Using his teeth and fingers, he thinned most of the yellow and white out. On his first cast, he was on to a fish. The rest, of course, is history. The fly is a staple in most everyone’s fly box today.

DRESSING: from Stripers and Streamers, as dressed by Ray Bondorew
Eagle Claw 254
Pale green or pale yellow
Silver body braid
A small bunch of white bucktail over which is tied two strands of pearl flash, a small bunch of yellow bucktail, two strands of pearl flash (I did gold), topped by a still smaller bunch of olive bucktail
Four or five strands of peacock herl
Jungle cock (Not in Ray’s original dressing)

Tying Steps:

1. Start thread behind the eye of the hook. I like to take 5 – 6 turns at the eye to fill in the gap at the hook’s eye. Then wrap the thread toward the back of the hook, stopping such that the thread aligns with the point of the hook below.

2. Tie in a short length of MYLAR BRAID at the back of the hook. Be sure that the tie in point at right above the hook point. (I like to tie the body material in on the underside of the hook. That way, if I’m tying any tail materials in it will minimize the bump on the top of the hook from the build up of materials.) Bring your thread to the front of the hook, stopping about 3/16” from the back of the eye of the hook. The wrap your braid around the shank of the hook, bringing to where you have stopped your thread and tie off. (Picture 2)

3. In the next several steps, you will be tying on the three colors of bucktail. I want you to think of the profile of a small silverside or sand eel. Skinny. To achieve this effect, we will be stacking the bucktail flat along the shank of the hook with each stack being about 1/2” longer than the next. For that skinny profile, use NO MORE than 30 hairs of bucktail for each color you are tying on to the hook. If you have to at first count the hairs out, do so. You will be surprised at how sparse this fly will end up being!!! (Also, use the hair from the tip if the bucktail, where it is soft and skinny!) The first layer is WHITE. This should be tied on the hook so that the tips of the bucktail extend about 1/2" behind the back of the hook. Tie in immediately in front of the body. I tie the bucktail on by taking two or three hand tight turns of thread, then positioning the bucktail by placing my thumb on the top of the bucktail where I’ve just taken the wraps and I roll my thumb from side to side. This helps settle the bucktail down on the body of the fly. It also rolls a bit of the bucktail down the side of the body, which is the effect I’m looking for.

4. The next color is YELLOW. Repeat the tying in step as described in step 3, with the bucktail extending about 1/2” beyond the white. Be sure to roll your thumb on the yellow. This will force some of the yellow down the side of the fly and it will blend visually with the white bucktail underneath. Now you are creating transitions of color one to the other, as opposed to abrupt layers of color.

5. MYLAR FLASH: For a fly this size, I take one strand of Mylar and fold it over so that I have the equivalent of two strips of Mylar. Tie the Mylar in on top of the yellow bucktail. Let the excess hang off the back of the fly for now.

6. Olive bucktail. Tie in as in step three, with these hairs extending another 1/2” beyond the yellow bucktail.

7. PEACOCK HEAT & JUNGLE COCK EYES: Find seven nice long strands of peacock herl. You will be tying in the tips, where it is most flexible. Tie in the herl so that once again, the herl is extending about 1/2” beyond the olive bucktail. Next the eyes. Take two jc nails from the jc neck. Strip the excess hackle barbules off the shaft of the nail from just below the small white spot in the middle of the nail. Locate the nail at the head of the fly, still tying at the magic 3/16” point and tie in holding the nail parallel to the shank of the hook. Repeat on the other side of the fly.

FINISHED FLY: Tie off, clip your thread and apply your head cement. I sue Sally Hansen Hard as Nails clear nail polish. Cheaper and harder that the head cement you buy at the fly shops J


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