I’d call it “Michael’s to the Rescue” only I’m not sure it isn’t the Shad being done the favor. Fiddling with substitutes keeps me off the water long enough to allow fish to move upriver unmolested, which hardly seems fair.
While researching a “bow serving” replacement, only a few pale shades of pink and orange fishing line were available on the Internet, forcing me to look to other crafts for a likely substitute.
Michael’s surrendered some items along a common theme, most are of the “craftlace” family – used to make woven keychains and bracelets. All of them are much larger than the 20lb mono and varying degrees of cumbersome to lash to the hook.
Rexlace is the most popular brand, it’s a rectangular shaped PVC that is available in a riot of colors – including all the fluorescent mainstays; hot pink, orange, and chartreuse.
No clearcut winners emerge, although the Stretch Magic fly looks most like the original bow serving. The real test is not so much the fish, who have marginal selectivity, as what remains of the fly next season when all those polymers have been exposed to direct sunlight and head cement.
In the meantime, we can fix the bulky issue with a teakettle and some steam. Drawing the Rexlace through the steam column while pulling on each end halves the filament size – making it much more manageable to use. 3-5 seconds of steam allows you to draw 10 or 20 yards of the smaller size in a couple minutes.
If you repeat the process you should be able to reduce it to trout sizes, saving you some money on some of those high dollar synthetic ribbings from the fly shop. Rexlace is about $3 per 100 yards – and you’ll wind up with triple that when you’re finished.
The above fly is a longtime Shad classic, the “Green Weenie.” Normally it uses the florescent chartreuse floss for both body and tail, all I’ve done is give it a silver tinsel underbody and wrapped the chartreuse Rexlace over the top – giving it the “glow” factor.
The unsteamed version is in front to show the original versus steamed filament.
We’ll see how they look next season. It won’t be the first time I’ve had gaily colored bits of oxidized plastic and a lot of bare metal in my fly box after winter storage – remember all those latex caddis nymphs that turned into exploded golf balls?
… and don’t let the above colors fool you, I’ve got plenty of pink flies already tied, orange and chartreuse round out the “well heeled” angler.