Published Oct 25. 2008 - 8 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 17. 2015

Staring Sunray Shadow

The classic - but with eyes

A row tied by Ken Bonde Larsen

Martin Joergensen

The Sunray Shadow has been a staple pattern in salmon fishing for decades. Its simplicity and efficiency is almost beyond description, and its catches talk for themselves.

It seems almost sacrilegious to try to "improve" such a fly, but in its own modest way the Staring Sunray Shadow can be considered slightly better than the original. Some people will argue strongly against this while others will only put a Sunray Shadow with body and eyes on their tippet. Because that's what the Staring Sunray Shadow is - a Sunray Shadow with eyes and a body.

Ray Brook's origonal Sunray Shadow is as simple as flies come. A wing and... nothing more, actually. The body is formed by the tube and there is no tail or any other fancy appendixes.

The staring version adds a body to give some more glare under the water and it also adds eyes under a small coating of epoxy. I have heard renowned Danish salmon angler and guide Henrik Mortensen say this fly can see where the fish are... That's hardly a fact, but it is a good fly.
As I also said, some people will consider it a desecration of Brook's pattern, but I always carry both the bare and the staring version in my boxes - or rather bags, because I usually keep my tube flies in ziploc plastic bags and the hooks in a small container.

Where it belongs - This Staring Sunray Shadow sits right where it belongs: in the jaw of a nice Icelandic salmon
Different strokes - This version has an arctic fox wing in stead of a goat wing. An excellent fish imitation as you can see.
Staring Sunrays
Martin Joergensen

Well, 'nuff said. Here is the pattern and setp-by-step images of Ken Bonde Larsen tying the fly.

Materials - A surprising number for such a simple fly
Martin Joergensen
Staring Sunray Shadow
Pattern type: 
Tube fly
Ray Brooks (sort of) - tied by Ken Bonde Larsen)
1" plastic
Braided mylar tube - silver or greenish/yellowish
Yellow Arctic fox
Upper wing
Two sections of black goat
Thin, clear, smooth flash, Angel Hair or similar
Peacock herl
Stick on foil eyes, silver/black, 3.5-4 mm dia
Epoxy or LCR
See the images below

Step 1 - mylar tube

Step 2 - start the thread

Step 3 - trim

Step 4 - ready for the varnish

Step 5 - varnish

Step 6 - underwing

Step 7- trim

Step 8- first black wing

Step 9 - first wing on

Step 10 - after the trim

Step 11 - flash

Step 12 - second black wing section

Step 13 - wing in place

Step 14 - peacock herl

Step 15 - ready for eyes

Step 16 - eyes

Step 17 - epoxy

Step 18 - remove

Martin Joergensen
Sunray Shadow with eyes - finished fly - Everything dry and ready for a hook according to taste
Finished fly
Martin Joergensen


What is the tool you are...

What is the tool you are using to apply the eyes?

Martin Joergensen's picture

A knife...


It's a simple hobby knife. One of those that have a blade you slide out and break off one piece at the time to get a new and fresh tip. You can essentially use anything to place the eyes: tweezers, a needle, a knife like here. Whatever you have and what works for you.


Log in or register to pre-fill name on comments, add videos, user pictures and more.
Read more about why you should register.