There is a lot of debate circulating in flyfishing circles about what constitutes a fly and what doesn’t. Some trout fishing purists believe that unless you are using a dry fly imitating an insect, fished on the surface whilst wearing a tweed coat and hat, smoking a pipe and casting with a split-cane Hardy fly rod with double taper line, then you are not really flyfishing. Others believe if you can cast it on a fly rod then it must be a fly. However, the majority go by the belief that if you tie it onto a hook, then technically it can be constituted as a fly.
For this reason, this month’s pattern is a bit controversial as there is no thread used, even though several processes are employed in its construction. The Gummi Minnow is not only an easy and fun pattern to construct but it is very lifelike in the water, and has worked extremely well on an array of species which eat small baitfish.
Gummi body is a material distributed by Wapsi, a fly tying material supply company from Arkansas, USA. This clear, highly adhesive material is available in two thickness’ 0.5mm and 1mm. Wapsi also supply the various finishes for this system, which are called Gummi Flash Foils. These are available in a great array of reflective and natural finishes to help you create lifelike baitfish imitations. The idea is that you adhere the Gummi Body to the hook, shape it, and then use the Gummi Flash Foil to create the finish you desire. The process is quite simple and easy with the quality of the finish only limited by your imagination.
This month I have only done a simple single colour finish on my Gummi Minnow, however colours can be stacked to create quite striking finish. The only thing you have to remember is that you can only adhere a finish to the body once, therefore the smaller sections (for example the eyes, stripes, backs etc) must be added first. The foil must be cut to the exact shape and adhered to the exact spot on the Gummi Body the first time. You don’t get a second chance if you stuff up. Once your features are added, a single layer of the major body material can be adhered over the top where it will fill in all the sticky areas not yet covered.
One of the great things about Gummi Minnows is that they are extremely lifelike in the water and will produce strikes even when they are sinking. For surface feeding schools, the ‘do nothing’ retrieve can certainly produce some awesome takes when cast into the mayhem and just allowed to slowly sink, like a wounded baitfish. Longtails, macks, mackerel, queenfish and a host of other species will casually slurp up the easy offering without the slightest degree of suspicion. Due to the lifelike feel of it, they will hold onto it for longer giving you more chance of setting the hook securely in the mouth as they turn to swim away. Of course, the ‘cast far, strip quick’ retrieve also has merit when stalking travelling fish sipping loosely dispersed baitfish from the surface. Due to its lifelike appearance, the Gummi Minnow can be cast ahead of cruising longtails and other species, and then stripped across the front of them. Usually one or two will peel away and chase down the realistic morsel. In faster moving currents, especially around bridges and pylons where species such as trevally, tailor and kingfish are likely to reside, a combination of a few fast strips and then a pause will usually yield a strike when the fly is worked back against the current. This imitates a tiring or wounded baitfish trying to swim against the current and will quickly get the attention of any predator close by.
NOTE PICTURES TO GO WITH EACH STEP 1 TO 6
1. Place the hook in the vice. Cut a section of the Gummi Body material big enough to be folded over the hook as shown. Remove the covering from one side and then lay the strip on top of the hook shank with the now exposed, adhesive side facing down. Make sure the Gummi Body is even on each side of the hook shank and then press it down on top of the shank. Fold each side down evenly so that the Gummi Body sticks together as shown.
2. Roughly shape the Gummi Body and attached coating to the desired profile with your scissors or a scalpel blade.
3. Peel the remaining coating from the outside of the Gummi Body. Be extremely careful to not touch the Gummi Body with your fingers as it is extremely tacky. Place any highlight features at this stage, in this case a self-adhesive eye. Use a bodkin or scissor point to do this, due to the stickiness of the body.
4. Get the desired Gummi Flash Foil and cut a section large enough to cover the entire body. Fold it over the Gummi Body as shown and press it firmly so that is adheres to the tacky body. The dull side should be facing down and the shiny or reflective side should face out, as this is the side you want to see.
5. After a few seconds, start to peel the Gummi Flash Foil material off the Gummi Body. It may be a little difficult to get started and may require a little more effort then you would expect. The cellophane backing on the Flash Foil will come way but the reflective finish stays on the Gummi Body. Any of the feature materials you added earlier (such as an eye in this case) will stay also and will not be covered by this layer of Flash Foil. Tear the Flash foil totally away from Gummi Body.
6. Trim the belly of the fly to the final shape you desire with a sharp pair of scissors or a scalpel. You may still have some tacky sections of Gummi Body on the very lower extremity (belly) of the fly, where the two halves meet. Just stick some of the unused Flash Foil to this area and tear it off again to cover these spots also. Otherwise the fly will stick to anything it touches. Your Gummi Minnow is now ready for use.
HOOK: Gamakatsu SL12S 2/0
BODY: Gummi Body 0.5mm
EYE: Self adhesive 2mm (glow in the dark)
COATING: Gummi Flash Foil holographic silver