Published Oct 25. 2008 - 15 years ago
Updated or edited Jan 30. 2021

Staring Sunray Shadow

Ray Brook's classic the Sunray Shadow can hardly be outdone by any variation of this simple yet very efficient fly. But some people still like to add little details to killer patterns. This version of the Sunray has a body and eyes.

A row tied by Ken Bonde Larsen

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
Skill level/difficulty: 
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

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.



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