The magic of ultraviolet: Tips for using UV fly tying materials

If ever there was a phenomenon in fly materials to take the modern tying scene by storm, it has to be the world of ultraviolet (or “UV”) reflective materials. Why the fuss? And more importantly, can such materials really make a difference to your catches? We certainly think so. The results are backed by catches on the bank and science, besides hype, with several of our best selling flies incorporating UV materials.
Can you see the difference with your own eyes? In practical terms it would have to be a no, because strictly speaking, ultraviolet light is a form of radiation not visible to humans. Various fish species are indeed sensitive to UV light however, and trout seem particularly responsive to it. Flies incorporating special UV reflective tinsels, fritz or dubbing have an additional appeal to fish when light levels are low and standard colours get lost. This makes them especially valuable early and late in the day.
We’ll spare you the science lecture on this occasion, but suffice to say that UV materials seem capable of enhancing many of the patterns you favour, turning good flies into deadly flies. But it isn’t just a case of using them blindly, or flooding hooks with fancy extras. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective uses, tips and products: Fly Applications There are various ways to incorporate UV reflective materials into your flies without overkill. For the rainbow trout fisherman, perhaps the most obvious is by adding simple cheeks to nymphs and buzzers. You don’t need a vast amount of material and in fact tiny slips are ideal:



An extra tip here for those who struggle to tie in fiddly little slips of material is to simply stick in place at the end using head cement or epoxy; a dubbing needle is far better than fingers too.
Ribs are another classic- especially with either light coloured materials or those with a naturally reflective sheen to them such as peacock. A UV rib is superb with classics such as Daiwl Bachs. Again, you don’t need loads to make a fly that stands out and another good tip for smaller flies is that you can make a thinner rib by gently stretching most tinsels and flash materials.


Which materials would we start with? Packs of UV Multiflash or UV Enhancer are both ideal for a range of uses and great value, since each pack gives you two or more colours to try:

The original purpose of these flashy strands was for lures and predator flies however and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use them for exactly that. They can be used for some deadly reservoir trout flies but another popular use would be in pike fly tying. You don’t need a huge swathe of material, but just a few strands of UV reflective material seem to really appeal to the fish. Dawn and dusk, when UV comes into play even stronger, are also absolutely key times for pike to feed as any keen predator angler will tell you. Here’s a variant on Dom Garnett’s “Black Beast”, which makes good use of our UV fly tying range:


On the subject of predator flies and lures, a really easy way incorporate some neat special effects into your flies is to use some UV fritz. The “Kennick Killer” has been one of our most popular reservoir flies for several seasons now, with original creator Duncan Keir a huge fan of UV. In fact, we had so much interest in the materials that we ended up producing “UV Killer Fritz” in various colours and guises.


The sky is the limit as regards your own tweaks. Another area well worth investigating is using little patches of white or light colours beside your UV hints, for example, for maximum reflection. River anglers can also try swapping the gold beads on their river nymphs for silver or even white versions for deadly effect. Whether you experiment with your own ideas, or simply grab a few of our bestselling flies that use the special effect of UV, we’re sure it’ll put another few fish in your net this season!
Remember you can also share your catches with us on Twitter, using the handle @TurrallFlies while we also have plenty of exciting news, tips and more on our new Facebook Page. Meanwhile, you can also catch some mouthwatering images of our favourite fly fishing haunts, catches and favourite flies on our Pinterest galleries.

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