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Some tinsel & a sad story

tied by Ronn Lucas
Fly Type: Salmon Flies,
Material List:
Tying Instructions: What follows is a sad story about tinsel not only for UNI-Products, but for us tyers whether we know it or not. It is a story (short as it is) about an oval tinsel I dare say the likes of which have never been seen.

A number of years ago my friend and the founder of UNI-Products, Jean Guy Côté, sent me a couple packages of a large silver oval tinsel he called (or, was going to call) UNI-Presentation Flat Oval tinsel. This stuff was/is the most amazing large tinsel I have ever seen by any company. If I recall correctly, Janguy told me the tinsel has 115 turns of metal tinsel per inch!

What does this mean to you and me as tyers? We all know that using most if not all medium and particularly large oval tinsels on a small diameter hook (any size hook), when the tinsel is wrapped on the tight radius, the thread core will be exposed as the relatively wide turns of tinsel separates on the outside of the curve (the side we see of course). Ideally, a tinsel would resemble a regular flat tinsel. I am only guessing but I expect that one of the reasons Lagartun makes their flat plisse (a flat very finely embossed tinsel) is to replicate a perfect large tinsel that does not expose the thread core when applied to the fly. The Lagartun Plisse tinsel is a very nice looking product which I will use on occasion.

The samples Janguy sent me were from the prototype run that the company who makes his tinsels sent him. It is hard to tell from photos but it is even finer than the embossed Plisse tinsel and when applied to the fly, it looks like a finely embossed flat tinsel. And, flat is another factor. If you look at these photos of the tinsel, you can see just how wonderfully flat it is. The photo with the two silver tinsels has the prototype above and the production run below.

I was extremely excited with this tinsel and the fact that he intended to have it made in silver, gold, copper and a pewter or vintage looking finish. Well, months later I was asking Janguy if he had the new tinsels ready to release yet and he related to me that they were in but he wasn't happy with them. He sent me some of all four of the new tinsels and I was really depressed when I saw them. The colours were great. As you can see in the photo of the four tinsels, only the silver and copper had the fine 115 per inch tinsels but they were very loosely made and show the core without even being on a hook! The other two have regular wide tinsel over the core and also show the core flat although the pewter is best of the two. Why the company couldn't duplicate their silver prototype in production runs is beyond me and I think Janguy as well. Further, why they didn't make the pewter and gold with the fine tinsel is also a mystery. If there is any good news about this, it is that one can take a short length of the tinsel and hold one while you pinch the tinsel and pull the metal down the core until the metal edges touch. You can get the same prototype look albeit with more effort. You can also do this with regular tinsels so the cores show less. Another little trick is using a grey felt marker and either before using the tinsel or after, letting some grey ink color the often white core. The darker core that shows will be much less noticeable than a white one. You can use a orange marker on gold tinsel.

Well, I believe his quest for the perfect tinsel has at least been shelved and at worst, forgotten. At least you can see a photo of what might have been.

By the way, as of this writing, Janguy is very ill and I pray for a full recovery. UNI-Products have I dare say, impacted almost all tyers in one way or another through their cutting edge products.

Happy Trails!

Additional Photos

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