Unquestionably one of the simplest yet most effective Salmon Flies ever created. A wing on a tube with a hook!! The Sunray Shadow is not much more than a souped up Collie Dog however if the Collie Dog is a Salmon Fly the Sunray Shadow can claim to cover a huge and expanding range of variants. The Sunray Shadow was originally invented by Ray Brooks on the banks of the Laerdal Salmon River in Norway. Rumour has it that it was so successful that an attempt was made to patent it!
Fishing the Sunray - Regular Swing
A Sunray Shadow can be fished in exactly the same manner as a regular Salmon fly, namely by casting it across the current and letting it swing normally. The micro-currents will give the fly a life-like motion throughout its swing, aided by its long wing. You can fish a Sunray Shadow in this manner with a floating or a sinking line. Conehead or versions tied on an aluminium tube help break the surface tension more quickly.
A less traditional way of fishing the Sunray is by casting it upstream and letting it sink. Since there is no drag from the line, the fly will sink faster this way, and you will be able to fish a lot deeper than on the downstream swing. Remember to keep contact with the fly when fishing upstream, enabling you to set the hook if a fish should strike the fly on the almost slack line.
Fishing the Sunray - Hitched or Stripped
If you use the holes pierced in the side of the Sunray Shadow, immediately behind its head, you can hitch a Sunray. Cast as normal and let the off centre drag result in a seductive V shape wiggle. You can tweak it from time to time to provide added movement. Alternatively or in addition you can cast a Sunray Shadow square to the current and strip it rapidly back across the surface. Both methods are often enough to turn a dead pool on its head and drive Salmon crazy. Salmon will very often hit or swipe at a Sunray Shadow fished in this manner, very often with no apparent intention of ‘taking’ the fly but rather out of instinct or an aggressive reaction. Although very often a Salmon will not hook itself, it can be enough to liven up a docile fish to a state where it will then readily take a ‘regular’ fly. Follow this up with another cast (having waited 2-4 minutes to allow the Salmon to return to its lie) and you may well be rewarded with a firm take.