Book Review: Fluorescent Flies by Joseph Keen 1964

This book is out of print and very difficult to find, so there was not any reason to put this post in the Books Section as it has more to do with fly tying than it has to do with books.

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Here is a link to a half hour or so long video where a Finish Fly Fishing Competition Angler shows how he ties his 3 Top Nymphs for Trout and Grayling, using Fluorescent tying materials sparingly:

Glo-Brite Floss is one of the best and most uniform sources for fluorescent fly tying materials around. There are 16 shades of Glo-Brite floss offered. Here is the Glo Brite Floss Colour Chart:
#1. Neon Magenta, #2. Pink, #3. Crimson, #4. Scarlet, #5. Fire Orange, #6. Hot Orange,
#7. Orange, #8. Amber, #9. Chrome Yellow, #10. Yellow, #11. Phosphor Yellow, #12. Lime Green, #13. Green, #14. Blue, #15. Purple and #16. White.

Shades 1 to 4 are very effective at dawn, dusk or on dull days.
Shades 5 to 9 are good on bright days.
Shades 10 to 13 are attractive in colored water or when the light is dull.
Shades 14 to 16 give extra visibility in clear water under all conditions.

This is how things are done in the UK, and each spool has its respective color number hand written in pencil on each spool label. Here in the US, the distributors and vendors apply American color names which are not the same as the UK color names, so here is a listing for the colors I am presently using: Shade 2, Glo-Brite Pink = s GB 133. Shade 3, Glo-Brite Crimson =s GB 139. Shade 7, Glo-Brite Orange =s GB 137. Shade 9, Glo-Brite Chrome Yellow =s GB 189. Shade 10, Glo-Brite Yellow =s GB 142. Shade 11, Glo-Brite Phosper Yellow =s GB 143. Shade 14, Glo-Brite Blue =s GB 125. Shade 16, Glo-Brite White =s GB 141 .

Why does Glo-Brite offer 16 shades of floss? So that the tier has a choice of a bright, a moderate or a dull intensity color for each different fishing condition in the different water temperature ranges - i.e. Cool, Optimum, and Warm. As was shown in the above video, it is quite possible and may be more convenient to use FL-Colored fly tying threads in place of the FL-floss if you have them. The thread may also be easier and cheaper to get but, you will need a Black Light Flashlight to really see and know what you are getting. The colors we see in artificial or daylight are not the same colors that will appear in UV light. And the fish may not see the same colors we see either. But if they take our flies, we are getting the results we want.

Here is a link to a picture of the floss in all of its various shades:

The last few days I have been in Tenn. with my wife who wanted to attend the “A Mountain Quiltfest” event.

I was looking around at the many types of threads in the YLI Thread vendor booth, when the guy asked what kind of quilt thread I was looking for I told him I wasn’t looking for quilting thread but instead was looking for some kind of thread I thought might make an interesting fly tying material.

He said he sells a lot of metallic opal thread to a couple of different fly shops. One in New England the other shop in Washington or Oregon border area. YLI sells spools with hundreds of yards of the stuff, but I purchased a dog-bone card with 30 yards. I can’t match the part number on the card to a product on their website, but I think this is the same stuff. My card is labeled “Metallic-Opal” 30 yards. It is available in many other colors.

“Opal metallic YLI ribbon floss! Ribbon Floss is a soft, pliable, braided ribbon …”

Worth a try - angling the card angle to the light it does look a bit like fish scales.


Hi D. Thank you for the information and Links. I have found some uses for the UTC Mirage Tinsel - A Reflective tinsel with color shifting technology, and mirror like properties that creates an iridescent chameleon effect, that comes on a thread sized spool. The Card you bought sounds quite similar, with the fish scale look being an added positive. Since yours is a ribbon floss, what is the width of the Ribbon? It sure looks like you get a lot more material for the price on a card than on a spool…Karl.

Karl, sorry for the delayed reply. When I first read your question I did not know the answer, and afterwards forgot you asked it. Until I remembered it a few minutes ago.

This material is about 2mm ~ 3/32 inch width.

Thank you very much D, that’s what I needed to know - very usable in my view.