The Global FlyFisher
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Minnow, sand eel, fry. This little fly will imitate most small, transparent fish
This fly is in essence a combination of the now classical Danish fly the Christmas Tree and a generic zonker.
I have always loved zonkers but never really enjoyed fishing with the Christmas Tree in its raw version. But after having added a seal's fur zonker strip to a slightly trimmed down Christmas Tree I have combined my way to a fly, which I'm quite happy with.
One reason for my happiness is the fact that the fly broke my cold spell of 19 fishless trips. The other reason is that it has kept on catching fish for me, which is always good.
Dirty and turbulent
A fly this bright would usually be considered best for dirty or turbulent water - or both. And sure enough, my best success with the fly was in slightly foggy water and waves. But I also used the fly a few times in clear water, and it seemed to work fine there too.
I tied a few flies where I exchanged the shiny mylar body with peacock herl to get a less visible and intrusive fly. I fished it a couple of times, but it still hasn't produced. I think I'll stick to the shiny version.
I know seal's fur can be hard - or even illegal - to obtain for tyers in some countries. Of course you can substitute it with another kind of fur like rabbit, mink or what you can find, but seal does have a very attractive structure with a lot fewer hairs than say rabbit. It also has fairly short hairs, which I usually prefer over the very long hair on some rabbit strips.
Seal's fur is at the same time very shiny, glassy and almost transparent, which blends very nicely with the Mylar body. As an added bonus the skin has a striped structure that gives it the look of something fishy. The stripes stand out even more clearly when the skin strip gets wet.
The result is a zonker wing that doesn't steal away attention like a wing made from far denser and longer fur such as rabbit or mink. The fly would not be the same with these types of hair.
But I will probably have to find an alternative material soon, because I only have little of this material left, and haven't been able to find new supplies. I think light gray mink will be my choice.
The "Christmas Tree" in the name comes from the original fly tied by Steen Ulnits.
The word "Strange" is a translation of the Danish word sælsom (saelsom), which just means strange, odd or weird. That word came about because seal is sæl (sael) in Danish. Sæl... sælsom... sælsomme... you see? No...? Well, blame it on us Danes.
So the fly is called Det Sælsomme Juletræ in Danish, which translates directly into The Strange Christmas Tree.