At a Glance: Brushes, Synthetics, & Flash
Brushes are a popular fly tying material, and for a good reason. Brushes are fur, hair, dubbing, or feathers captured on a looped wire and twisted; the result resembles a bottle brush. Brushes are excellent for tying freshwater and saltwater streamers and baitfish imitations because they give the fly an illusion of bulk while keeping the fly light for casting. Brushes are popular for tying freshwater and saltwater streamers and baitfish imitations. Plenty of fly tiers favor brushes for some salmon and steelhead patterns, especially Intruder-style flies.
FishUSA offers various flashabou, shimmer fringes, and faux fur synthetic options. Fly tiers use synthetics for many streamer patterns, as layering colors, and as material for baitfish patterns to create flash and accent colors. In particular, iridescent tinsel is an excellent material for over-layering nymph bodies, wingcases, and streamer underbodies.