Glossary of Fly Tying Materials
Modern day synthetic materials come in so many varieties and colors these days, it is almost impossible to mention them all, and it seems like every day a new one comes into the market. Many add sparkle or flash, and fluorescence; colors that were never seen in the materials of yesteryear. The number of synthetic dubbing, yarns, and chenille that can be used for Salmon and Steelhead flies is mind boggling, but exciting. They offer the fly tyer so many more possibilities and variations. Some of these newer synthetics are mentioned here, but this list is far from conclusive. The best way to find newer materials is to visit Orvis's Fly Tying Materials page, our Links page, or our Google Ads, do a search on the net, or visit your local fly tying dealer. The materials used for tying Classic Atlantic Salmon Flies are in another category with the goal usually being to tie with natural feathers and fur rather than synthetics; those that are truer to the original materials used in Classic Atlantic Salmon feather-wing fly construction. Most tyers agree that you cannot tie quality flies without quality materials. The book, Classic Salmon Fly Materials: The Reference to All Materials Used in Constructing Classic Salmon Flies from Start to Finish, by Michael D. Radencich is an excellent reference.
Angel Hair- A very fine mylar synthetic hair that is packaged in hanks and comes in a variety of colors, including metallic and fluorescent varieties. It is very useful for tying flies with a lot of sparkle and glitter.
Antron Yarn- Trade name of a "sparkle type yarn" that can be dubbed, twisted, teased, used for wings, shucks, parachute posts or mixed with other products such as flash-a-bou for tailing. It can be found in yarn skeins sold at discount department stores under the brand names of Dazzleair and Jewel Tones.
Autumn Yarn - This material can be used for tails, bodies, wing cases, or wings. Reflects light.
Bugskin - Body material for nymphs that provides microscopic spaces among the fibers allowing it to breathe. Very lifelike.
Cactus Chenille - A loose, floppy artificial chenille with pearlescent filler strands. Comes in numerous colors; Adds flash and action to large bodied flies.
Crystal Chenille - Short pearlescent-fibered plastic chenille used for nymph streamer and woolly bugger bodies.
Crystal Yarn - An Estaz substitute. See Estaz
DFM -Daylight Fluorescent Material - of floss usually. Trade name "Gantron". Two main types used as fly tying materials are DFM and DRF (Depth Ray Fire).
Diamond Braid- Metallic braid material used for tying streamer and nymph bodies. Excellent for woven nymphs. Reflects light well and provides a segmented body appearance
Dubbing Brush - Dubbing that has been twisted between two fine diameter soft copper wires for ease of wrapping.
Dyed Pheasant -Tail feathers used to tie Teeny Nymphs and Pheasant Tail Nymphs
Edgebrite - Flexible translucent plastic material that comes in sheet form. Cut into thin strips and tied over a mylar tinsel base. This material glows and reflects light. It is also sometimes called "Lazer Wrap".
Egg Fly Yarn Yarn that imitates the drifting eggs that trout and salmon eat during the spawning runs. Comes in a variety of colors.
Estaz Chenille - Translucent plastic chenille, used for bodies of streamers, woolly buggers, for the thorax of nymphs, nymph bodies, and egg flies. Long fibers can be trimmed. Comes in a wide variety of steelhead colors and there is also a line of 8 colors in holographic called Metallique Estaz(tm). Shortly they we will have 10 new shades with ice blue hues called Black Lights and a glow in the dark called Night Lights Estaz(tm)
Everglow Tubing - Shiny fluorescent tubing used mostly for fly bodies. Glows in the dark when charged with light. Popular on Alaska flies for its durability when taking repeated strikes. Comes in a variety of colors like Orange, Red, White, Yellow, and Green
Fishair - Synthetic hair used as a replacement for bucktail. Very durable, with a large variety of colors available.
Flatwared Nylon - Good heavy thread. Lays flat
Flashabou - A thin, flexible tinsel that gives lifelike flash and breathing action. Mix in with other fibers to enhance streamers and saltwater baitfish patterns.
Franze - Rayon based floss body material laced with metallic fibers, used for leech bodies, woolly buggers.
Frostbite - Plastic translucent braid used for nymphs, streamers, and salmon bodies.
Frosty Fish Fiber - A material that mimics the behavior of light on fish skin. The color of the materials changes from a deep, radiant hue to a frosted look, depending on how the light hits the material.
Furry Foam - Synthetic fuzzy material that can be cut into strips and than wrapped for effective nymph bodies.
Gantron - Man-made material, usually a dye or color which has high light reflective properties. Registered trade name. See DFM
Glo brite Chenille - Chenille flecked with pearlescent fibers, used for bodies and egg patterns.
Glo Bug Yarn - Fluffy yarn that is spun onto the hook to make egg imitations. Also good yarn fly winging material.
Ice Chenille - Another plastic chenille material. Stiffer than Estaz, some nice colors, but not as high quality as Estaz. A good substitute.
Ice Dubbing - Dubbing for nymphs, and streamer bodies that unbeatable flash and a fine, super-soft cut for easy fly tying.
Krystal Flash - Pearlescent twisted fiber winging material with great reflective properties.
Lace Tinsel - Three strands of tinseled thread twisted together.
Larva Lace Body Material - Flexible hollow body material used for nymph bodies. Soft and realistic bodies can be tied. Also available larva lace nymph rib - solid 1/2 round nymph tying materials, and larva lace midge lace which is hollow and translucent.
Larva Lace Fly-tying Foam - Used for body build up techniques, with an overwrap of larva lace body material or nymph rib. Two types - closed cell for surface patterns, and open cell for wet fly patterns.
Lite Brite- An extra fine shredded and iridescent Mylar sparkle hair ideal for flash and movement. Can be dubbed, or spun.
Lure Flash - Metallic synthetic substitute for marabou or other winging materials. Finer than flashbou and easier to handle for smaller flies. Provides lots of flash and action
Lusterelle - Trade name for a Canadian Floss.
Mylar - Man-made synthetic, shiny metallic like plastic. Usually comes in gold and silver and other colors such as red, blue, green, etc. Substitutes for the tinsel of old. Also produced in "tubing" or "piping" form. Used for fly bodies, tails and wing strips. Salt water tarnish proof. A similar material called Lurex is also available.
Mylar Cord - A material that can be slipped over the hook shank or wrapped around the hook when the core is removed. It combines refractive light effects with tubes for the bodies of flies and is often used as the underbody for "Zonker" flies.
Plymaster 6/0 - Waxed flat nylon thread with a slight twist.
Prism Tinsel - Mylar based tinsel material, available in strips to tie streamer bodies. Large amount of colors, with great reflective properties.
Polyseal - Coarse two inch fiber sparkle dubbing. Excellent substitute for seal fur.
SLF - Synthetic living fiber with sparkle - an excellent synthetic dubbing replacement for seals' fur.
Super Micro Chenille - Extremely fine, super strong chenille that can be used on small flies. Good for San Juan worms.
Swiss Straw - Substitute for raffia (a natural colored fiber that can be found in craft stores), and used for shell cases on nymph and shrimp patterns.
Tinsel Chenille - Metallic fibered chenille used for streamer bodies.
Zonkers - A thin strip of rabbit fur in various colors used for tying flowing bodies and tails for leaches and minnow imitations.
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