By Dan Blanton, California, USA

Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

Dan will be a Special Guest for the Tying Chat Sunday Oct. 3, 1999!

I originated the Sar-Mul-Mac (sardine-mullet-mackerel) in 1971, and, frankly, it was a decade ahead of its time. To my knowledge the only other flies that came close to it were Bill Catherwood's patterns, which were an inspiration to me. My first patterns incorporated glass optics. Today I glue on solid, plastic eyes. And, of course, I now have taken advantage of new materials like flashabou and crystal flash - all of which have improved the fly's performance.

The Sar-Mul-Mac in a variety of sizes and colors will fish as well or better than any other pattern existing today, anywhere, anytime, both in fresh and salt water, for a huge variety of species. You can count on them to produce anywhere on the globe - I'd put money on it!

Following are the tying instructions for one of my favorite versions - the sardine pattern of the Sar-Mul-Mac, which does an outstanding job of simulating sardines, cavallito, herring, a variety of shad, and other similar baitfishes. In addition to those species already mentioned, this is one of my favorites for both freshwater and saltwater striped bass, particularly where the larger shad species are the principal forage fish. Delta black bass love it, too...

Materials List:

Hook:  Tiemco 611- S size 3/0 to 5/0 - can be tied in tandem, rear hook up for billfish and wahoo.

Thread:  White, Danville Fly Master Plus or equivalent.

Underbody:  Three amp lead wire or non-lead equivalent..

Tail:  White bucktail.

Tail Topping:  Fifteen to 20 strands each of both silver and pearl Flashabou.

Wing:  Six, long, white saddle hackles.

Throat:   Medium bunch of white bucktail, half as long as the tail.

Wing Topping:  Pearl gray bucktail.

Shoulder:  Fifteen to 20 strands of mauve or rose bucktail, topped with six to eight strands of wine Crystal flash length of gray bucktail. That is topped with one long grizzly saddle hackle on each side 3/4 the length of the wing.

Side Flash:  Fifteen to 20 strands each of both silver Flashabou and multi-colored Crystal flash.

Head Topping:  A loop of medium gray chenille.

Gills:  Small, red chenille.

Head:  Small, white chenille.

Optics:  Yellow and black, solid plastic eyes, post removed, 9 mm.

Tying Instructions:

1. The entire fly is tied using the forward half of the hook shank only. Wrap thread to mid-way point and center 10 wraps of lead wire on top of the thread. wrap over the wire and cement.

2. Tie in a medium bunch of white bucktail 3-1/2 to 4- inches long at mid-point of the hook shank. Trim stubs to form a neat, tapered foundation. All of the material tied on from this point on will help to build the foundation over which the head of the fly will be formed later. Now tie directly on top of tail, 15 - to 20- strands each of both silver and pearl Flashabou - leave it long, it will later be cut about 1/2-inch longer than the wing to form a flash tail.

3. Tie on three, long, white saddle hackles, curved sides inward, slightly tented over the tail, along each side, forming the wing which simulates the body of a baitfish. Now tie on the underside of the hook (throat), a medium bunch of white bucktail, half the length of the tail, which forms the belly of the fly, giving it some girth.

4. Tie in a medium bunch of pearl gray bucktail for topping, producing back color. You now tie in along both sides where the gray bucktail meets the white saddles, a shoulder of mauve or hot pink (cerise) bucktail, as long as the gray bucktail. Over that, add six to eight strands of wine Crystal flash. Add side flash, a combination of 15 to 20 strands each of both silver Flashabou and multi-colored Crystal flash. It is preferred to layer the silver flash, about half-to-half. The Crystal flash needn't be as long as the wing.

5. Tie in along each side as an over-shoulder, one long grizzly saddle hackle just short of tail-length. Now tie in a loop of medium gray chenille which will later be brought forward, nymph-case style, to form the head topping. Next, take two to three turns of small, red chenille at the same point the loop is tied in and tie off. This will simulate gills.

6. Starting just back of the hook eye, tie in a length of small, white chenille and wrap to the red chenille and back (two layers) and tie off. Bring gray chenille loop over the top and tie it off, forming a small, neat tie-off point. Cement.

7. Glue on 9mm, black and yellow, solid plastic eyes using automotive Goop (any Goop product will work). Make sure eyes are properly aligned for good balance and proper swimming action. You'll be amazed at how strong the Goop bond will be - nothing works better!

Here are some of my variations of the same tying technique.

Check out my website for more saltwater patterns. ~ Dan Blanton

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