Published Oct 25. 2008

Staring Sunray Shadow

The classic - but with eyes

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

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

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
See the images below
Sunray Shadow with eyes - finished fly - Everything dry and ready for a hook according to taste
Finished fly
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