|Hot Flash Minnow|
Holographic Angel Hair Smokes 'Em in Saltwater or Fresh
Recently, during a conversation with fishing buddies, the question, “What is the most versatile fly in your fly box?” came up. I was very surprised to learn that the unanimous choice of three of my friends was the Hot Flash Minnow, designed by well-known angler and fly tier Andy Burk. If you are unfamiliar with the fly, it is a realistic streamer pattern tied almost exclusively with Angel Hair, one of the best new fly tying materials on the market. Their logic as to its versatility was quite simple: The fly looks and acts like a live bait fish in the water – and every gamefish eats bait fish. That logic made sense to me, so I bought a few flies and decided to try them on my next outing.
My next outing was a float trip down a large tailwater river. The turbines from the dam up above had been running all night and the river was full of 2 - 3” shad that had washed downstream. Big brown trout were stacked up in the slack water, gorging on the cripples struggling on the surface. The splashes of trout powerfully crashing bait fish were a sight to behold and we quickly positioned the boat so that we could cast to them. Remembering my vow, I tried the Hot Flash Minnow and cast it toward the trout. Cast after cast resulted in a hookup with a heavy trout, while my friend failed to hook up with his zonker. Thinking that this a fluke, we switched rods and he began to catch fish on every cast. While he was having a ball, I changed fly after fly and only was able to entice one fish to eat another streamer. Despite the feeding frenzy we witnessed, it was amazing how choosy the fish were.
I’ve witnessed this situation while fishing in saltwater several times. For example, stripers feeding on small bay anchovies, herring, or silversides are often very selective of even the subtlest size and color differences. When fishing small flies for stripers, I prefer a fly tied with holographic materials that flash a wide spectrum of color imitating natural bait fish in a variety of light conditions. Few flies imitate a natural throughout a variety of light conditions — the subtle holographic qualities of the Hot Flash Minnow perfectly achieve this. I’ve found that the shad and shiner patterns (although designed for freshwater trout and bass) are ideal color schemes to match the majority of small bait fish in both fresh and saltwater.
The 1/0 Anchovy and Mackerel patterns are great for stripers, bluefish, tarpon, snook, and a variety of other saltwater gamefish. Unlike many large bait fish patterns tied with rigid synthetic materials, the Angel Hair construction of the fly allows it to move seductively with an undulating motion. I’ve found that this subtle movement can sometimes trigger fish in an inactive or neutral mood to strike the fly. Usually these takes are very soft, so its important not to strike too aggressively – all that is necessary is a continued strip of the fly until you feel a heavy pressure, then take a powerful strip to set the hook. Although named Anchovy and Mackerel, their color schemes and light reflective properties represent the majority of bait fish of similar size. This makes the fly pretty darn versatile and qualifies it as a “go to” fly when you’re in doubt of what color scheme to use or what bait fish is most prominent. Looking back to the conversation with my friends, I now understand why they singled out this fly.
It truly is a fantastic all-around bait fish imitation for both fresh and saltwater. Give it a try in both fresh and saltwater this season. I think you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was.