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 About the Fly of the Month and Bonus Fly Articles

Here along the Northeast coast, it’s  Striped Bass and Silversides time.  This month’s “Fly of the Month” and ” Bonus Fly”  are surely appropriate for this time of year . Tie a few and Catch’em up.

Saltwater Fly of the Month- May/June 2012

            Each spring, silversides return to the Northeast coastal waters in large numbers to spawn. In pursuit of them are hungry striped bass looking for a belly full of ripe silversides. The mid-May thru June time frame is silverside time along the coast.  It’s the time when a good silverside imitation proves its worth.  Many fly rodders have found the Ray’s Fly to be just that, a very reliable and effective silverside imitation. Mainly by word of mouth, this quickly tied, simple pattern has been passed on from angler to angler and has become the go to pattern for a many fly rodders. While the Ray’s Fly is primarily a silverside imitation, it also serves as a good sand eel pattern, especially when tied sparser than usual.  While this pattern is extremely effective in the spring it’s always worth a try especially wherever small baitfish are present The Ray’s Fly is not just for striped bass and has taken many saltwater species. Everything from Albies and Sea Trout to Snook and Tarpon have fallen for it.  Freshwater types are not exempt from its lure as both large and smallmouth bass favor it. For freshwater use, I often substitute marabou for bucktail.

Ray’s Fly

Here’s  a video on how I tie my Ray’s Fly


Hook:  Eagle claw Model 253 or 254 . (1/0 EC #254 pictured)

Thread:  Green or Yellow Monocord

Body:  Silver Bill’s Body Braid.

Wing:  A small bunch of white bucktail topped by two strands of Pearl flashabou (don’t cut  flashabou  off at eye but leave dangling as it will be folded back over the yellow bucktail),    topped with a bunch of yellow bucktail , topped by two strands of  the original pearl flashabou folded back, topped with a small bunch of olive bucktail.

Topping:  4 to 7 Strands of peacock herl( depends upon the thickness of the herl)

Origin:  1990-Ray Bondorew

Here’s some notes on tying the Ray’s Fly.

  • Tie it in many hook sizes and lengths ( 3 ½ to 4” seems best in early spring) don’t forget to carry some 1 ½ to 2” ones.
  • I like using medium to light yellow bucktail and prefer not using strong/bright yellow.
  • Medium  olive seems best- one that’s not too brown, green or  blue
  • Add a small amount of light brown or tan with the yellow when sand eels are present.
  • If your Ray’s Fly fouls often then try this– When tying the body, form a small hump with the body braid when finishing the body up at the head, this should lift the wing a bit. (I don’t usually do this step as mine seldom foul.)  I attribute fouling to excessive false casting and fast action fly rods.  All that’s required is one or two false casts to get the fly lne’s  head out onto the water, then pick it up and shoot the sucker out an additional 35 feet or so in one shot.

                So that’s my Saltwater “Fly of the Month” for May–June 2012. The Ray’s Fly pattern is now twenty two years old.  That’s how long ago it was to when the pattern was first presented to the angling public.  In today’s lingo that’s when the Initial Public Offering (IPO) was announced. I had been trying various mods of this pattern  for a few years earlier  to get what I thought was the right blend of olive, yellow and flash. The IPO came in the form of an article written for the Rhody Fly Rodders by my friend, fly fishing guru and “Striper Moon” author,  Ken Abrames.  Ken wrote the article shortly after learning what fly I was using one night as we fished together. From his head lamp shining on many in my fly box he picked one out.  He asked “what do you call it?”  “I don’t have a name for it, all I know is it works.” In his article Ken labeled the pattern “Ray’s Fly.” The rest is history.  Since that time, countless anglers have tied countless Ray’s Flies to catch countless fish. Perhaps you’re one of them.  So next time you see Ken along the shore or in your other travels, thank him for bringing this pattern out into the open. If it were not for Ken Abrames bringing this pattern out into the public fly rodders eye, it may still be just that – only Ray’s Fly.

© Ray Bondorew May 2012


  Bonus Fly -May/June 2012

Here’s the Bonus Fly for May –June 2012.  When you first look at it you’re probably thinking it’s a lot like the Ray’s Fly. Yes it does, in fact it uses the same materials, just tied in differently. I’ve been tying this pattern since the late 1990s. I like to use it during the daylight hours when silversides are around. There’s a reason for this and I’ll tell why in another article, for now see origin listed in pattern.  The fly works, especially in larger sizes.  Try fishing it in tandem with a standard Ray’s Fly to see which works best. You be the judge.

Harold’s  Meadow



Hook:  No 2-3/0 Eagle Claw Model 253 or 254. (1/0 EC #254 pictured)

Thread:  Green or Yellow Monocord

Body:  Silver Bill’s Body Braid.

Wing:  A small bunch of white bucktail, topped by one strand of Pearl flashabou (don’t cut  flashabou off at eye but leave dangling as it will be folded back over the yellow bucktail),   topped with a small bunch of yellow bucktail , topped by one strand of  the original pearl flashabou folded back, topped with a 6-8 strands of peacock herl, topped by one strand of Pearl flashabou(  don’t cut) or substitute a single strand of silver flashabou here, topped by another small bunch of yellow bucktail,  topped by one strand of Pearl flashabou(Previous strand  folded back),  topped by a small bunch of olive bucktail

Topping:   NONE

Origin:  Tied by Ray Bondorew-inspired by Harold Gibbs’ Gibbs Striper fly

  ***Notes/Hints:***  This is one of the few patterns I’ve ever tied that I have considered adding an eye either painted or jungle cock. 

 Harold”s Meadow is a great warmwater pattern where largemouth bass abound.

© Ray Bondorew May 2012