I first discovered Sulky tinsels when tying up a batch of Kevin Compton’s Tungsten Torpedo, which calls for a rib of this material in black. My first take was “what’s with the black tinsel?” – that question made it only as far as the first fly taking shape in the vice, and was fully resolved the first time I introduced that fly to the wild rainbows in one of my favorite streams; closely followed by a 2nd rib of fine wire, ribbed over a thread body, this material provides striking segmentation reminiscent of stripped peacock quill. Not sure that’s the comparison the trout made, but they certainly approved.
Kevin carries a variety of Sulky tinsels at Performance Flies, including & beyond the basic black, in both solid and “holographic” colors; a full range can be found through embroidery materials and craft outlets, or online directly through Sulky, including the “sliver metallic” tinsels (yes, that’s “sliver,” not “silver”)
and flashy “holoshimmer” tinsels:
these are a flat polyester film (=highly durable in use) tinsel metalized with aluminum, in a variety of colors (check out the links above), and they find a number of applications from emulating stripped peacock quill on the Tungsten Torpedo & similar thread-bodied patterns, to ribbing dubbed or herl bodies such as red- & purple holo princes and other flashy patterns such as my Claret & Red Stone and Hare’s Ear nymph. Suitable to wet & dry patterns alike.
I’d love to list my favorite colors, but these extend from the traditional silver, gold and copper to black to opalescent and in truth to the entire Sulky inventory.
Performance Flies (Kevin Compton – an excellent source of a variety of materials in the “Euro-” fly tying tradition, great service, quick delivery & a fine fellow to support)