Much time can be spent trying to achieve a synthetic-based pattern with the right mix of fiber and flash. Typically, tiers will alternate between fiber (Unique Hair, Super Hair, Kinky Fibre, Slinky Fibre) and flash (I prefer Angel Hair) as they construct a fly. Some will attempt to mix flash with fiber at each tying step. Well, why not take care of mixing flash and fiber for many flies all at once?
Let me introduce you to flash blending. It’s nothing new, but it does provide a simple way to add flash in a uniform way to many patterns. Many materials are available with flash pre-blended and packaged. However, if you take a little time to do your own flash blending, you will add another dimension of custom colors to your tying and add significant durability to patterns you may have been tying with flash only. The blending also creates feathering at both ends, which works well for times when you attach the material’s midsection to a hook and then fold it back over itself. Now you can create a highly durable fly with an integrated flash that looks and swims as if it were just one material.
One blend that’s gaining popularity is made from Angel Hair (the flash) and Slinky Fibre (the material). Here’s how it’s done:
Make sure the flash and fiber are about the same length, and strip some Slinky Fibre onto a clean work area in a thin layer. Over that, strip some flash in a thin layer. Repeat the process until you are done. Now, roll up the material and strip the combination back onto the work area. Repeat this three or four times each time the blend starts to look like one material instead of two.
When you’re satisfied with the mix, get a postcard from one of your copies of FFSW and use it as a funnel to slide the blend into a large fly sleeve for storage.
— Steve Farrar