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Incredible Silver Minnow

INCREDIBLE SILVER MINNOW   Picture will come sometime!

We found this pattern in a Sports Afield magazine. I think it was 1965 or so. It was winter & my buddy Jim Robertson and I were working on the railroad in Mactier Ontario Canada. We tied this fly on a size 2 hook and as soon as the ice was away from the shore, out we went with our ultralite spinning rods. We had put enough lead weight so we could cast them about 30ft, which was just right to reach the edge of the ice.Good thing we tied a few of them, because I managed to hook the edge of the ice and promptly lost my fly. However Jimmy had better luck. He got a whitfish, then a Lake Trout. The whitefish must have been close to 8lbs and the Lake Trout was huge (over 20lbs!0 So that was the start of the silver minnow for us. Later we tied the mino with less weight because it was menace trying to cast the #2 on a fly rod.



More on the mino

Over the years I have caught a lot of big fish on that pattern, Lake Run Trout & salmon in Ontario, and big brookies and smallmouth bass. The salmon liked the #2 size, the Lake trout 2s and 4s and Bass 6s.. I tied & sold a lot of minos and had lots of big fish stories come back to me from across the country about the silver minnow.

I tried tying it without the lead weight, but it just didnt work properly so I went back to the lead. The lead isnt so much to sink the fly as to make the big mallard feather flare out as you work it with a jigging motion. The best method for me is to heave it across the river, strip off some more line, then stop it and "pump handle" it across the river on a tight line. Boy, when a big fish hits you sure know it! Some of my buddys would just cast it out and slowly retrieve it with a jigging motion and they did just fine with it, but that was too boring for me. Of course in a lake that was the way to do it. So here is the pattern



Silver Minnow Pattern

Hook  Mustad 79580 or 9672 size 2  4 or 6----Thread  3/0 monocord     Gray

Eyes   Black with yellow dot            Tail- short 1/4" tail of gray mallard

Underbody- lead on front 1/3, wool yarn wrapped on for a thick underbody

Body- Medium or Large silver piping, center core removed.     Throat- Red Hackle feather

Underwing- small bunch of white bucktail extending past tail, under a few strands of blue bucktail.

Overwing- Well marked, well formed large mallard or teal flank feather tied flat on top & reaching to the end of the tail

Head-  Paint silver gray, flatten sides with pliers,  eyes black with yellow iris



Tying instructions for mino

Tie in the mallard tail & wrap thread forward to about 1/4" behind the eye. Wrap .025 or .030 lead on the front third of the hook, about 7 turns of lead is fine. Bind the lead down with thread ending up with the thread at the rear of the lead. Use wool yarn for the underbody, you want it just thick enuf so the mylar piping will slide over it. Tie in the wool just behind the lead, then bring the thread forward to just behind  the hook eye. Coat the entire shank with head cement and wrap the wool back to the tail, tapering it just ahead of the tail so you will have room to tie the mylar piping down. Now flatten the yarn and wrap it forward, making a nice even body from the tail to just behind the eye. Taper the wool at the front so you will have enough room to put on the bucktail & wing and a fairly large head. Make the body just thick enuf so the piping slips over easily. Tie the wool body off with a couple half hitches and cut the thread.

You can use large mylar for a # 2, but if you flatten the yarn the medium piping will work fine. Cut a length of piping sa little longer than the hook and pull out the center core, taking care not to unravel the ends. Now slip the hollow tube over the eye and work it slowly back to the tail. Tie the body down at the rear with enough thread to make a neat taper. Tie off with a couple half hitches, cut the thread and apply cement.


Tying continued

Now tie the thread at the head again and build up the head with thread so you have a slightly tapered base with no bumps so the wing will lay flat on the top of the body. Use a small bunch of white bucktail for the underwing, keep it sparse so the wing will flair when you are working the fly. Next lay on a few strands of blue bucktail, just enough to give it a hint of color.  Pick out a well marked mallard flank feather and tie it flat on top making sure it covers the entire hook and tail. Tie in the red hackle throat, making it long enough to reach the hook point.. Finish off the head, cement it , and flatten the sides of the head with pliers. If you silver  or gray paint do the head, but dont worry about it. It will work just fine anyways. Put a dab of black paint on for the eyes, let it dry & add a touch of yellow for the iris

For a variation that works well sometimes, use a longer piece of mylar tubing and let the end unravel past the tail for extra flash when the water is off color.




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