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Dougherty's Siliside Minnow:

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Siliside Minnow (Natural)

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Siliside Minnow (Natural)

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Siliside Minnow (Hot Pink Tail)

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Siliside Minnow (Shad)

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Materials

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Hook: Size 3/0 Wide gap Gamakatsu SC15 or similar

Threads: Clear Uni-Mono and 12 lb. fluorocarbon or mono

Eyes: Tape eyes

Body: Mother of Pearl (MOP) Sili-Skin Thin

Belly: Optional, Belly White Sili-Skin

Lateral Line: Prismatic Silver Sili-Skin

Tail: Angel Hair or similar flashy material

Marker: Optional, Prismacolor

Glitter: Optional

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 Buy materials now

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History   Tying instructions   Print instructions   Fish Pics

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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.

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Life like minnow flies

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History

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Originally 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.

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Menidia menidia, 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.

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Silversides, 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.

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Realistic minnow flies

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Dougherty's 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.

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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.

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Fish this fly as you would any minnow pattern, subsurface, dead-drift or with short deliberate strips.  Hold on!

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Tying instructions

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The Siliside Minnow is tied with the above color combinations, however a multitude of colors may be substituted to match local variations or artistic flare.

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Sili skin material

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STEP 1:

Cut pieces.  This 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 1 for the body, 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.

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Flash tail fly

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STEP 2:

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.  If using markers on the body, color match the tail by using appropriately colored Angel Hair or coloring pearl Angel Hair with a marker.

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Attaching sili skin tail

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STEP 3:

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.

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Sili skin joint tail

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STEP 4:

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 section.

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Trimming sili skin tail

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STEP 5:

Trim excess.  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 accomplishes this.

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Finished Siliside Minnow

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STEP 6:

Add extras.  Add 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 storage.

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Siliside Minnow success:

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A Vineyard bass

A Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass

Lobsterville Beach, MA

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A brown trout taken on a size 4 natural Siliside Minnow

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This article 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.

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Dougherty Flies:

Vineyard Minnow

SEP Squid

Herring

Tube Flies

Sili-Deer Minnow

Slider

Paddler

Hellgramaniac

Crayfish

Siliside Minnow

Sili-fox Minnow

Misfit flies


 

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Copyright 2004-2016 by Brian Dougherty