Eye of the Guide


Tom Travis - July 28, 2014

Sysadmin Note
Part 6 can be found here

The Glass Minnows

A Look at the History, Patterns and Uses of the Pattern Style

For me, looking into the history of the Glass Minnow has been interesting and highly informative and a little bit confusing. If you Google Glass Minnow Fly Patterns you will see that there are 67,200 sites to visit and by visiting just a few of them you still might be wonder what the first Glass Minnow looked like and depending the sites visited you might not even know who originated this outstanding pattern.

Carl O. Hansen (1914 to 1998) of St. Petersburg, Florida is the originator of the Glass Minnow. Carl moved to Florida in 1950 and he was trying to imitate the local "Rain Bait" that was being created by the Bay Anchovy schooling at the surface and being heavily preyed on by various gamefish. Carl's creation was pure simplicity with a body of wrapped monofilament, a simple bucktail wing and small painted eyes. Carl felt that the key to the success of the pattern was the transparent body, the sparseness and small slim profile.

The success of the pattern speaks for itself as it is still in use today and it copying is a form of flattery then Carl might have felt very good about his creation for it has been copied and modified many times over the years.

As a side note, Carl conducted fly tying and fly casting clinics from his home in St. Petersburg until his death in 1998, he was always willing to share his knowledge with all who wanted to learn. All who learned from Carl considered him a fly fishing philosopher and after his death a friend said "Carl came to earth fly fishing, tying his flies and he would preach finesse and conservation".

Lefty Kreh was very impressed with the Glass Minnow and modified the pattern by adding a silver wrapped Mylar body under the monofilament body. 

Chico Fernandez is attributed with popularizing the Glass Minnow from his home base in Florida; he also modified the pattern and has his own variation of the Glass Minnow. Chico ties the Glass Minnows in many different color variations to cover a wide range of small transparent minnows four in the saltwater. I would also mention that is pattern works well in the freshwater on several different species.

The Glass Minnow is a pattern I learned about on my first saltwater trip many years ago and it is a pattern that I am never without. I also tied it in several different color variations to imitate Anchovies, Sardines, Silversides and any other small transparent minnows that I may encounter.

There seems to be hundreds of Glass Minnow patterns for the angler to choose from and I have tried and play with many different patterns; however the simple original style is still as effective today as I was when Carl Hansen first created therefore I will give you the pattern for the original style and Chico variation which is also very effective. Remember the regardless of what pattern you choose it should be 1½ to 2½ inches in length, transparent, and sparse as possible to offer a slim profile.



This pattern is also tied using Calftail Fibers for the wings and can be constructed in many different color combinations.
One of the Glass Minnow imitations that I use is tied with EP Fibers.


Make sure that you have a supply of Glass Minnows for your next trip to the salt.
Enjoy & Good Fishin'

Sysadmin Note
Part 8 can be found here


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