BY JOSEPH MANETTE
Several years ago, Ray Bondorew created a silverside fly utilizing the unusual bucktail color combination of olive, yellow and white. The pattern was brilliant in its simplicity and effectiveness, and once we determined that Ray's Fly consistently out-fished other silverside imitations — particularly for striped bass — it quickly became a mainstay among New England fly-rodders. In fact, Kenny Abrames challenged everyone to fish it against all other spearing creations.
I began to think of this fly as a potential offering for false albacore when these magnificent speedsters pound silversides near the surface. From Massachusetts to New Jersey during the fall months, thick schools of silversides frequent inshore waters, as do anchovies. The albacores preference for spearing even when other bait is present (except anchovies) is well documented, and I became intent on the marriage of Ray's Fly and false albacore.
The only initial change I made was the substitution of Angel Hair for the tail and upper wing, eliminating Flashabou and peacock herl. I was bent on adding more flash, and the fine Angel Hair strands complement the texture and movement of bucktail very well, giving the fly a flashier essence. The metallic pearl braid palm-ered on the hook shank creates a greenish glow, paramount to a silverside fly.
litis modified Ray's Fly proved to be very effective for false albacore. It rides near the surface with nonstop action regardless of retrieve, and I've witnessed many incredible strikes. But I'd occasionally lament the one drawback of Ray's Fly: its propensity to foul, a liability when false albacore blitzes are infrequent.
I recalled Joe Brooks' timeless Blonde bucktail streamer. Since the tail was tied from the rear of the hook shank, the Blonde rarely fouled, and I suddenly
realized my solution was to tie the Angel-Hair-altered Rays Fly in a Blonde style to create a truly effective albacore fly.
1 painted yellow-iris, black-pupil eyes on the head, believing they also gave the concoction a more colorized appearance. The yellow in the fly, in addition to Brooks' tying style, prompted me to call this pattern the Blonde Silverside.
I tie this design on a Gamakatzu SC15, a classy hook featuring a sharp point with a saltwater gape. I am convinced that the combination of bucktail colors proposed by Ray Bondorew tied in a Blonde style with Angel Hair, pearl braid and yellow-and-black eyes has been and will remain a winning combination for false albacore.
HOOK: Gamakatzu SC15 THREAD: Danville's white 6/0 TAIL: White bucktail/gray Angel Hair BELLY: Gudebrod metallic pearl braid or Bill's pearl Bodi-braid BACK: White, olive and yellow bucktail topped with brown-olive Angel Hair EYES: Yellow-and-black painted or Va-inch silver holographic stick-on HEAD: Olive marker; 2 or 3 coats of Hard As Hull cement
Tie in sparse white bucktail from hook eye to hook bend. Tail extends about 2 Vi inches from hook bend. Step 2 Tie similar amount of gray Angel Hair above bucktail extending slightly beyond.
Wrap shank from tail to eye with pearl braid and secure with half-hitch. (Optional: Apply thin coat of cement on braid to Vs-inch past hook bend for durability and to stiffen tail.) Step 4 Tie wing consisting of white bucktail (the same amount as the tail) and add a representation of yellow and then olive bucktail. This bucktail is about 3 inches long. Finish wing with brown-olive Angel Hair for the topping, slightly longer than the bucktail.
Taper head large enough with thread to accept painted eyes or Vs-inch prismatic eyes. Color top portion of head with olive marker and coat with Hard as Hull cement. Apply painted or stick-on eyes and one or two final coats of cement. $
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