Dougherty's Siliside Minnow:
Size 3/0 Wide gap Gamakatsu SC15 or similar
Clear Uni-Mono and 12 lb. fluorocarbon or
Mother of Pearl (MOP) Sili-Skin Thin
Belly White Sili-Skin
Prismatic Silver Sili-Skin
Angel Hair or similar flashy material
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This pattern can
be tied to target anything from freshwater
trout to an array of saltwater species, just
adjust hook, eye, mono and body size
accordingly. For smaller flies, try a
size 4 SC15 and use the thinner Mother of
Pearl Sili-Skin for the body.
conceived in the Spring of 2004 from a
personal challenge to create a
better-looking silverside, Dougherty's
Siliside Minnow is a spin-off of Blane
Chocklet's widely popular Gummy Minnow.
Not solely for the salt, when tied on a size
4 hook this pattern produces a 2-inch long
shinner, good for trout, bass or panfish.
However, with the distinct silver streak one
can't mistake its saltwater roots.
also known as sperling or more commonly
silversides, is not the only saltwater
minnow to sport a silver stripe as found on
an outing to Sandy Hook, NJ. Fly
fishing from shore, with birds working
overhead and an occasional boil within
casting distance, I routinely impaled
anchovies also sporting this silver tattoo.
striped anchovies and smelt (capelin), which
inhabit our eastern shores, have a silver
stripe paralleling their lateral line.
Sizes range up to 6 inches with smelt
reaching more than double this length.
Colors include shades of bottle green or tan
as well as being clear. These minnows
are an important food source for predatory
fish such as bluefish and striped bass.
Having a few patterns to imitate these
minnows will surely increase your odds of
connecting to such fish.
Siliside Minnow is the fly tiers fly,
offering creative freedom. Use markers
to color these any which way. Add more
segments for needle fish, eels or lances.
Try different threads, monos, super braids
or Scud Back. Color the threads for
lateral lines and/or digestion lines.
Add flat weight or a paddle tail. The
list goes on. Words of caution though,
all materials come with their own unique
drawbacks including Sili-Skin.
Here are a few
things I've learned along the way.
Sili-Skin is unforgiving should it become
stuck to itself. However, if you get it
right the first time, no worries.
Also, I found with no consistency that
certain markers when applied to the
sticky-side actually deactivate the
adhesive. Applying markers to the
finished-side at times will produce a less
than desired hazy effect.
Additionally, I found that wet Zap-A-Gap can
produce the same effects as certain markers,
rendering the adhesive ineffective.
Although these minor inconveniences may be
considered nuisances, they are no different
then learning which deer hair to use for a
specific fly, body or tail? They are
characteristics of a unique material and are
learned along the way with more frequent
use. Give it a try and see what your
creative side delivers.
Fish this fly as
you would any minnow pattern, subsurface,
dead-drift or with short deliberate strips.
Minnow is tied with the above color
combinations, however a multitude of colors
may be substituted to match local variations
or artistic flare.
step becomes easier as you make more minnows
and finalize your template for the body,
belly and articulated tail sections. Once
shapes are finalized, use the white paper
backing of the Sili-Skin as templates for
your next minnow. Sizes are approximately
1¼” for the body, ¼” for each articulated
section and ad-lib for the belly and lateral
line. Hint: Use light oil on the blades of
your scissors to prevent the Sili-Skin from
sticking when cutting.
Make the tail.
Use approximately 10" of mono. Fold in half.
Take less than half a pencil's thickness of
the longest Angel Hair fibers and fold in
half around the mono, so as to interlock the
mono and Angel Hair together. Compress the
Angel Hair near the mono junction, wrap and
whip-finish. Trim Angel Hair if desired.
using markers on the body, color match the
tail by using appropriately colored Angel
Hair or coloring pearl Angel Hair with a
Attach the tail.
Tie-in one end of the mono behind the eye.
Over-wrap this mono towards and around a
portion of the bend of the hook. Advance the
thread back to just before the bend. Holding
the Angel Hair tail and the loose end of
mono, adjust the length of the tail (~ 2")
and wrap over the loose end of mono a couple
of turns. Make final length adjustments to
the tail then advance the thread
over-wrapping the mono towards the eye,
whip-finish and cut-off thread and mono
ends. Add Zap-A-Gap to the thread wraps on
the tail. Let dry. Depending on the desired
action of the tail, lighter or heavier
monofilament, Spectra or Scud Back may be
substituted. For eels and lances, use a
longer section of mono.
Build the body.
Remove the white backing exposing the
sticky-side of the MOP Sili-Skin. If
coloring is desired, use a marker to draw a
solid line down the middle of the
sticky-side of the Sili-Skin. The same will
need to be done for each articulated
section. Once coloring is complete, lightly
pull the tail while laying the body section
over the top mono strand and around the hook
and covering the bottom mono strand. Repeat
for each articulated tail section. For
spacing, begin with the tail section; next
add the middle section, then one to each
side. If done correctly, each articulated
section will be spaced evenly with one mono
strand at the top and bottom of each
Trim the excess Sili-Skin by shaping the
articulated tail sections to the desired
shape. Using a straight scissor and cutting
from the tail towards the body easily
a small section of Belly White Sili-Skin, a
silver lateral line and eyes to each side.
Once complete, apply a second layer of
Mother of Pearl Sili-Skin to secure the
extras you've just added. Make your
final cuts to remove any excess Sili-Skin.
If desired, a small amount of Zap-A-Gap may
be added to each articulated/mono junction
to increase durability. Go fish! Hint: If
using Sili-Skin for the lateral line, it's
easier to use one continuous strip and
finish by cutting between joints then to cut
individual lengths for each section.
The above tying pictures use 3-D eyes.
Tape eyes are preferred to 3-D eyes as 3-D
eyes may migrate around the hook during
Vineyard Striped Bass
A brown trout
taken on a size 4 natural Siliside Minnow
comes with the support of fellow fly
fishermen, many of whom after seeing this
pattern for the first time recognized it as
a unique pattern, something that needed to
be shared with the fly fishing community.