Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sparkle Minnow Tutorial

Sparkle Minnow
Hook: Mustad 36890, Size 6
Thread: Black 8/0
Weight: .015 lead wire
Body: Polar Chenille (UV Pearl)
Collar: Crosscut Rabbit Zonker (Blue w/ purple tip)
Topping: Polar Fiber, Icelandic Sheep, Cashmere Goat, or similar (Cashmere goat shown)


Place hook in vise.  I use up-eye salmon hooks for my streamers, but any long shank streamer hook will do.

Wrap an underbody of .015 lead wire to sink the minnow.  This pattern has a lot of bulk, so a bit of weight really helps to get it below the surface.  Using heavier gauge lead would help improve the sink rate.  Push the lead up against the end of the loop eye, or, if you aren't using a loop eye hook, leave some space behind the eye equal to the width of your rabbit strip plus room for a head.

Build a thread dam at the rear of the lead body to prevent it from sliding back, then tie in a piece of polar chenille at the back of the body, then advance your thread to the front of the lead underbody.

Wrap the polar chenille forward in touching turns to completely cover the lead underbody.  Be sure to sweep the fibers back after each turn to avoid trapping the fibers under the next wrap.  Tie off and trim.

Tie in your crosscut rabbit strip.  I'm using blue here, but nearly any color could work, I just associate white, blue, green, and silver with minnows.

Make one wrap of the crosscut, then tie off and trim.  Any more than one wrap will overcrowd the head of the fly, and will also tend to dominate the polar chenille.  One wrap will allow the polar chenille to deliver a subtle flash from below the rabbit, and also allow for the fibers of both materials to move freely in the water.

Tie in your topping.  Any long, supple material will work here.  I normally use polar fiber in olive or black, but here I've used chartreuse cashmere goat.  Other possibilities would include any hair you'd normally use on a streamer, bucktail, yak, peacock herl, etc.  You just want a material that will add a little contrast to the fly while again allowing for maximum movement.

The completed fly.

The fly wet.

You fish the sparkle minnow just like any other streamer.  Drift, swing, strip.  I've only ever used it in moving water, but I'd imagine bass and panfish would like it in stillwaters as well.


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