Tying translucent flies

Can you recommend some synthetic materials?

Q: Since baitfish are translucent, I want to tie flies that transmit light. I have tried a number of natural materials, such as bucktail, but none do the job. Can you recommend some synthetic materials?

Jim Rowland
Seattle

A: There is a misconception that baitfish are translucent. That is not true. The only parts that are translucent are the fins and a portion of the tail. The reason baitfish appear to be translucent is the same reason that permit, bonefish and tarpon are difficult to see: The silvery sides of the baitfish reflect the area around them, very much like a mirror. One reason black flies are effective is because when predatory fish view the bait with the sun behind them, the body is silhouetted. Don't worry about making the flies translucent.