Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

When you go through your pattern books, you end up tying a lot of flies that either don’t work well or you never fish. Despite the great claims in the book, some flies just don’t work for you and you abandon them. However, every once and a while you tie up one of those touted flies and it does work. So, you tie up more, continue to have success and begin the inevitable process of introducing variations. Such was my case with Hidalgo’s Flash Minnow. I tied my first one about a year ago and have had success with the pattern ever since.

Carlos Hidalgo is a commercial fly tier from South Florida whose saltwater patterns show up regularly in pattern books. A series of his flies was included in Inshore Flies-Best Contemporary Patterns from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (2000) by Jim Schollmeyer and Ted Leeson. Hidaglo’s Flash Minnow is designed as a glass minnow imitation primary for snook and jacks. Glass minnows are small anchovies that seldom exceed three inches in length. They are prolific along the Florida Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and inshore waters. From a fly tying perspective, their slender, translucent body is the defining characteristic.

In that regard, Hidalgo’s Flash Minnow achieves that translucence with simplicity.

The original pattern, created sometime in the 1990s looked like this:

  • Hook:  Mustad 34007 #2 – 3/0
  • Thread: Size A chartreuse or black
  • Body: Pearl or Silver Krystal Flash overwrapped with clear jelly rope or vinyl ribbing.
  • Wing: Chartreuse or Blue Flashabou
  • Head: Five-minute epoxy
  • Eyes: Painted white with black pupils

Of course, in the 20 plus years since the original pattern was tied, new materials can and are being incorporated into older patterns. Such is the case with my variations on Hidalgo’s Flash Minnow. Here’s my take on the original:

With the hook in the vise, lay a smooth thread base from hook eye to bend. Secure a piece of clear jelly rope along the hook shank from just behind the eye to the hook bend. Cut 5-6 strands of polarflash and secure at the hook bend. Secure the polarflash in the middle of its length with two or three thread wraps then wind the thread forward to the hook eye. Wind the polarflash forward creating a smooth body to ~ ¼” from the hook eye and secure. Overwrap the polarflash body with tight winds of the jelly rope. Secure just behind the hook eye. Apply a thin coat of the Loon UV Clear Fly Finish-Thin to the body and cure with a UV light. For the wing, select the colors you want to use layering from light to dark. Select a sparse bunch of the lightest fibers and secure in the middle of the length near the hook eye. Fold one half of the length back and overwrap the spot where the fibers are bent. Repeat with additional colors. Trim the winging material roughly just beyond the hook bend. Build up the head of the fly with thread so that is large enough for 3/16” eyes and secure with double half hitches. Using your favorite superglue, attach the eyes to either side of the head. Wait at least 30 minutes for the superglue to dry and cure. Coat the head with Loon UV Clear Fly Finish-Thick ensuring the finish covers the eyes and seals the wing behind the eye. Once you have an even coating, cure with the UV light. After an hour or so, seal the head with Loon Hard Head.

The Polarflash and Lateral Scale wings give the fly the look of the original while the Just H2O materials provide for a more translucent fly.

Although originally designed for snook, I have found the chartreuse versions very effective on sea trout and ladyfish over grass flats. The unweighted fly will cast long distances with accuracy and sinks slowly when fished with a floating line. They are an ideal fly to toss into surface commotion by schools of baitfish. The sealed body and head have proven very durable with toothy fish as well.


Polarflash and Lateral Scale Wings


Just H2O SF Blend and Flash and Slinky Wings



  1. Very nice, Mike. I wonder if this pattern, with some further modifications, would transfer reasonably to freshwater fishing? Juvenile Fallfish are an important part of the forage base in the streams in my area, and although none of the Fallfish’s body is clear as in a Glass Minnow, I can see some resemblance in the overall color profile. This calls for some experimentation.

    1. Mary,
      Based on what I can see about Fallfish colors, using a dark olive or bronze flash underneath a translucent olive or bronze jelly rope/vinyl rib might do the trick. The pattern as designed is essentially an upper water column pattern. However, if it needs to be fished along the bottom, just invert the wing (think crazy Charlie).


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