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HomeIsland FlyFly of the Month August 2022: August Pinks

Fly of the Month August 2022: August Pinks

August almost always finds me out at the river estuaries casting for pink salmon. There are many great patterns that work for these, the smallest of the Pacific salmon, and the vast majority of them incorporate pink in their colours. Sometimes green works, sometimes purple works, but pink is by far the most productive pattern.

Decklan Finlay catching pink salmon on the fly from Campbell River

The first pattern here is an old standby that is in every pink salmon fly-fisher’s box, and most often on the end of their lines as well: the pink handlebar. I added a chartreuse bead head to this one to get it down a bit more in the water, and chartreuse seems to attract salmon in general. You should always have these in your salmon box.

The Bead Head Handlebar Fly

Chartreuse Bead Head Handlebar in vice
  • Hook: Mustad 34011 Stainless Steel #6
  • Thread: Red or fluorescent pink Black 6/0 or 8/0
  • Head: Chartreuse bead
  • Tail: Opalescent Crystal Flash
  • Underbody: Flat silver tinsel
  • Overbody: Fluorescent pink Lazer Wrap
  • Rib: None
  • Hackle: None
  • Wing: None

Tying Steps

  1. Slide the bead onto the hook, making sure the narrow part of the hole is towards the eye.
  2. Wrap on the thread and wind it to the butt.
  3. Tie in 3 to 5 strands of shank-length crystal flash.
  4. Tie in a length of silver tinsel long enough to wind to make the underbody.
  5. Tie in a length of Lazer Wrap long enough to wind to make the overbody.
  6. Wind the thread to just behind the bead.
  7. Wrap the tinsel forward, making sure to cover the entire shank with no gaps. Tie it off and trim excess.
  8. Wind the Lazer Wrap in similar fashion. If you warm the material in hot water before using it, it will stretch and wrap more easily.
  9. Whip finish and cement.

The Bead Head Blue Streak

Bead Head Blue Streak in vice
  • Hook: Mustad 34011 Stainless Steel #6
  • Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0
  • Head: Silver or tungsten bead
  • Tail: None
  • Body: Silver tinsel, opalescent tubing, or none
  • Rib: None
  • Hackle: None
  • Wing: Light green/chartreuse bucktail, sky blue bucktail, and blue crystal flash

Tying Steps

  1. Slide the bead onto the hook, making sure the narrow part of the hole is towards the eye.
  2. Wrap on the thread at the head.
  3. Tie down a few strands of light green or chartreuse bucktail 2x shank length, with about 2 or 3 wraps of thread.
  4. Add a few strands of sky blue bucktail (just over shank length) on top of the green, and tie it down with 2 or 3 wraps of thread.
  5. Tie in a few strands of blue crystal flash the same length as the bucktail.
  6. Trim off all the excess.
  7. Whip finish and cement.

Pink salmon on a fly are a hoot, and these two patterns will provide you with an arsenal that is hard to beat. Remember, you must pinch down your barbs when fishing salmon in B.C. It’s the law. And besides, it makes it a lot easier to release all the fish you’re going to catch with these two patterns.

This article appeared in Island Fisherman magazine, never miss another issue—Subscribe today!

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