How to tie the Silicon Smelt Fly
Imitations employing the use of RTV silicon rubber sealant are possibly the easiest of all fishing flies to create. The silicon rubber comes in 75gm tubes and is available from most leading hardware stores and service stations. I’ve done a bit of messing around with this stuff and have found the best method of making them is as follows.
1. Begin by dressing your hooks. For most trout fishing a size 8 wet fly and nymph hook will be ideal for smelt imitations, being neither too big and bulky for casting, nor too small and fiddly to work when tying.
Dress your hooks sparsely to achieve a subtle lifelike imitation. Consider how your finished fly will look in clear lake water where a smaller imitation is often more effective. A simple wrap of Aurora skirt strip, with the same material used for a tail, creates a very convincing “glow in the dark” smelt fly that is ultra quick and easy to tie.
Many other interesting patterns can be created with Flashabou, which is a flat Mylar strip material that is very strong and comes in a variety of colours. It is very reflective and just a couple of strips can bring a fly to life!
2. After dressing a dozen or so hooks you are ready to apply the silicon rubber. I have found the best method is to squeeze a long blob on to a sheet of thick polyethene plastic bag. Then press the dressed fly on it with tweezers.
3. I then spread the silicon over the dressing and hook, with a stick or piece of plastic bag, to the required thickness.
4. At this point, after repeating the process for a dozen, or more flies, you can simply set the sheet aside and wait for the silicon to set, or you can place a second sheet of polythene over the top and through this press the silicon down to make to make it thinner underneath before setting aside to set. This way you end up with a finished smelt pattern that has a super smooth surface on both sides. The drawback is that the silicon rubber takes much longer to cure because the air can’t get at it!