When tying a fly, the mission is pretty straightforward. You want to design your pattern so it has the proper proportions and ingredients to attract as many fish as possible. As fly tyers, we have a plethora of products available to us that help to accomplish this goal. Flashy materials are just some of the common and effective tools at our disposal to spruce up certain flies. Not just reserved for streamer patterns, other flies may also incorporate some amount of flash to help them be more appealing. I'm a fan of using flash in certain patterns and believe that at times it helps me catch more fish.
Flashy fly tying materials are available in an array of sizes, styles, and colors for a broad range of fly sizes and fishing conditions. While the available choices are many, here's some quick insight into three common materials that can be used to shine-up your flies:
Flash Chenille/Estaz/etc: Similar to "regular" chenille just with more flair and shine. It works great for building a shiny, "buggy" head or body on certain fly patterns.
Krystal Flash: Long, thin strands that are relatively limp and have a somewhat "scaly" appearance. I like this material for adding subtle sparkle or detail to a fly.
Flashabou: Long strands of tinsel that are very limp and often very shiny. It's a great material for adding maximum flash and swimming action.
I tend to place the most emphasis on the overall color and size of the fly rather than any added flash. Although I do use flash a fair amount, I consider it more of an added attractor and generally use it relatively sparingly. Some flies may actually require a pretty hefty amount of flashy material in their construction, but most often I use it to simply add in a light to moderate amount of glimmer or contrast. Of course, if you tie your own flies you can use as much or as little as you see fit!
While some folks may have different preferences when it comes to constructing certain flies, I think most would agree that flash can make many patterns more productive when applied correctly!