Understanding Holographic Flashabou (a little)

Here we go again, with my practical analysis of the flexibility and wiggle inherent in various colors of Holographic Flashaboou.

The point of this post is to crush the notion that since this material is a synthetic – that we should expect every color to be similar in its flexibility and therefore wiggle in the water.

This has not been my experience as a tyer and fly angler. I will show a series of photos that demonstrate what I believe I have seen. If anyone has an explaination I would appreciate your comments and wisdom.

Orange #6941 is moderate in its flexibility. This is a side view.

Orange #6941 is moderate in its flexibility. This is a side view.

Orange #6941

Orange #6941

Purple $6999 is moderately stiff in the hank.

Purple $6999 is moderately stiff in the hank.

Purple #6999.

Purple #6999.

Blue #6993 is stunning but seems the stiffest of these holographic flashabou colors.

Blue #6993 is stunning but seems the stiffest of these holographic flashabou colors.

Blue #6993.

Blue #6993.

Chartreuse #6989 is getting more flexible the way I like it best.

Chartreuse #6989 is getting more flexible the way I like it best.

Chartreuse #6968.

Chartreuse #6968.

Firetiger #6943 is the limpest most flexible holo flashabou I have found and I love the stuff.

Firetiger #6943 is the limpest most flexible holo flashabou I have found and I love the stuff.

Firetiger holographic flashabou #6943.

Firetiger holographic flashabou #6943.

Now here is a different product, 1/69″ Opal Mirage Lateral Scale. This is limp and has amazing flash.

FLA1733 Opal MIRAGE LATERAL SCALE is flexible and very flashy, another of my favorites.

FLA1733 Opal MIRAGE LATERAL SCALE is flexible and very flashy, another of my favorites.

SAMSUNG CSC

In summary, I’m trying to emphasize that the mere fact that you are tying with a synthetic material is no assurance that all colors will have exactly the same properties. While I like all the various holo flashabou colors, I prefer for purely superstitious reasons to tie my flies with colors that have the greatest flexibility and therefore wiggle. I do not understand why some colors seem less flexible and realize it is possible that all may become equally flexible after being fished for several hours, but still, I like my flashabou soft and wiggly right out of the package. Other tyers seem not to be plagued with my quirks, and all of the colors I note as being rather stiff are used in steelhead and salmon flies with perfect success. Give these a try and see what you think.

I hope you find this perspective intriguing and helpful at the bench and on the water. Am I completely crazy when I think that some flashabou is more flexible than others? I swim my flies in a tank and fish them in the river. Help me out with your observations and set me straight if you can, please.

Jay Nicholas April 2016

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2 Responses to Understanding Holographic Flashabou (a little)

  1. Russ Kendall says:

    Jay, what if you held 4-6 holographic strands between your thumb and index finger? I ask because even with my intruders I try to limit the number of holographic flash strands. However, even as you held 30-40 strands in your pics the fire tiger is clearly way more flexible than the steelie blue and the purple holo. Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy your reviews, fly-tying, and articles.
    Thanks,
    Russ K.

  2. Oregon Fly Fishing Blog says:

    Well you make a good point indeed. The experiment with only 4-6 strands of holo flash would be more flexible as you rightly gather. That said, there really is a difference in how even a few strands of flash move in the water, depending on the specific product. Holding a clump is a gross indicator of how the individual strands will behave. JN

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