We all have our favorite patterns that we use each and every time on the river. Some days they work great and others just mediocre. Why not spice those old patterns up a little by incorporating some fluorescent tying materials to really make them "pop"
The addition of brightly colored fluorecent dubbings as well as fluorescent thread collars or tags can really make a difference when the going gets tough. One particular type of nymphing comes to mind when I think about the use of fluorescent materials in fly patterns, the European Nymphing Techniques. These brightly colored fluorescent section incorporated into the flies are often reffered to as "hot spots" or "trigger points"
When I look at most of the European style patterns in my fly box or in magazine articles, there is almost always some type of hot spot or trigger point somewhere. It could be a small section of fluorescent dubbing separating the thorax from the head on the grub/Czech flies or a hot orange collar behind the bead on the French micro nymphs. There are instances where I will use a fluorescent wire for the ribbing on my flis or add a small section of fluorescent material near the tail, which I have found extremely beneficial in heavily pressured waters.
The most important question you should be asking yourself right now is??? Why do Hot Spot or Trigger Points stack the deck in your favor?
The answer to this is really simple once you comprehend what happens to the different colors of light as the water you are fishing gets deeper and how fluorescent materials react to that light.
Fluorescent types of material reflect light at a longer wavelength than it receives. How does this effect your flies tied with fluorescent materials? Fluorescent materials absorb any light color in the spectrum and will still reflect their representative color. The water column disperses most of the Red, Yellow, Green and Orange light as you gain depth where Blue and Violet colors are still present.
This creates a huge advantage over flies tied without fluorescent materials as they will appear dark brown or black with a brightly colored section glowing like a beacon in those deeper runs. This is an open invitation for fish to check it out and since they cannot grab the fly and inspect it with their hands, they use their mouth!!!
Below is a picture taken under Ultraviolet light showing some flies tied with fluorescent hot spots while others were not.
Flies at the top of this image do not have a ''hot spot'' incorporated into the fly. As you move down the page, there are patterns that have a dubbed hot spot, a thread hot spot either behind the bead or at the tail of the fly and then flies with fluorescent orange beads
You can see that most of the colors of the flies are hard to distinguish but the fluorescent orange and fluorescent chartreuse colors really glow.
Here is a picture of the same page of the fly box taken under natural light.
Pretty amazing the difference the addition of fluorescent materials into your fly patterns makes!
What is the best fluorescent color to use for your hot spot's or trigger points
For deep, dark streams with little or no penetrating light, often found back East or in the Pacific Northwest or water that is off-color due to run-off or a recent rain event, Fluorescent Yellow, Fluorescent Chartreuse and Fluorescent Orange are the best choices. They emit the most light due to their overall brightness on the fly and really cut through that dark or stained water.
For clear, low water, Fluorescent Red is the best choice. Most fish have the ability to process Red colors very well under water where to a human eye it would look dark. The addition of a Fluorescent Red hot spot into your shallow water fly arsenal will provide the right amount of contrast to the fly itself making it more appealing to a fish. Once you get into deeper water where the light is dissolving more, the Fluorescent Red color will begin to dissolve into the body color of the fly. In this situation, the brighter orange, chartreuse and yellow's are a better choice.
How much fluorescent materials you incorporate into your flies is really up to you. I tend to use a bead, collar of thread or a small dubbed section on most of my flies rather than tying the entire fly out of the fluorescent materials which might be too much for some fish. We want to trigger the fish to eat, not scare the spots off of them.
Incorporating the correct color of fluorescent materials for the water depth you are planning to fish into your flies will greatly increase their visibility. By increasing the flies visibility, especially in fast moving runs, pockets, riffles and off-colored water, the chances of a fish seeing them goes way up and hopefully taste testing them as well!!! Look for the ''FL'' or ''Fluorescent'' wording next time you are buying fly tying materials and incorporate them into you flies, you will not be disappointed!!