Rainbow Warrior

~By: Lance Dean | September 21, 2014

Rainbow Warrior

s I was looking through the fly bins at Cabela’s a while back I was introduced to a shimmering fly that used pheasant tail for a tail and unique dubbing that I had never had any desire to use. The body and wing case shined almost to the point that I needed sunglasses to keep it from blinding me.  That may be a bit of an over-exaggeration, but the point is that it got grabbed my attention. The bin label said Rainbow Warrior. Now, when I think of Rainbow and Warrior together I think the University of Hawaii.  Their mascot used to be the Rainbows and now they are called the Warriors.  I don’t believe there is any relation to the names of the fly and the school but it’s what came to my mind when I saw it.  I decided that I wanted to tie this fly when I saw it on this visit to Cabela’s.  Little did I realize that the creator of this fly worked for the Cabela’s in Lehi, Utah where I first laid eyes on the Rainbow Warrior. 

The creator of the Rainbow Warrior is Lance Egan.  Lance Egan is a competition fly fisherman who has fished in many world fly fishing competitions. The Rainbow Warrior an attractor nymph that is a simple fly to tie. The hardest part of tying this fly is making sure the tail is not too long.  The pearl or mirage opal tinsel brings the Rainbow Warrior to life. The Rainbow Sow Scud dubbing turns down the flash of the Rainbow Warrior just enough to make it look like it isn’t just a piece of flash drifting in the water.  This fly does an excellent job of getting those indecisive trout to bite. It is a warrior of rainbow trout.

Rainbow Warrior This is a perfect fly for a beginner fly tier who wants to target trout. The techniques used to tie the Rainbow Warrior are not complicated enough to dissuade a beginner tier from learning them and they can be learned with minimal practice. The materials are relatively cheap so they can be bought without breaking the bank.  The Rainbow Warrior is not only fun to tie but it also catches fish. 

Fish will also take the Rainbow Warrior in different colors. The materials of the Rainbow Warrior can be changed up with different colors of thread, tinsel or pheasant tail.  I have been meaning to tie a few Rainbow Warriors with a hot orange or pink hot spot. Tim Cammisa has got a YouTube video out there where he uses a rainbow colored bead that adds to the look of the Rainbow Warrior.  When tying the Rainbow Warrior use your imagination and don’t limit yourself.

On a side note how do you feel about flashy flies?

Answer in the comments section.

Here is the tutorial of the Rainbow Warrior.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial.  Please leave any comments below.  Subscribe to  Fishbait's Fly Box and like it on Facebook.

YouTube Video:

Rainbow Warrior
HOOK: TCM 2488 size 16
THREAD: UTC 70 - Red
TAIL: Pheasant Tail Fibers
BODY: Large Mirage Opal Tinsel
THORAX: Wapsi Sow Scud Dubbing - Rainbow
WING CASE: Large Mirage Opal Tinsel

  1. Place bead on hook and secure hook in the vise.

  2. Start thread behind bead and wrap around hook to the Bend of the hook keeping the thread as flat as possible.

  3. Pull a dozen or so pheasant tail fibers and secure them to the hook with two turns of thread.

  4. Carefully pull the butt ends of the pheasant tail fibers until they extend approximately ½ a hook shank beyond the bend of the hook.

  5. Cut off the butt ends of the pheasant tail fiber. Then tie in a five inch piece of tinsel at the bend on the hook.

  6. Evenly wrap the thread up the hook shank to behind the bead.

  7. Wrap the tinsel up the shank to the bead, overlapping the tinsel by half the width of the tinsel each turn.

  8. Arrange the tinsel so that it can be laid along the top of the hook shank and secure it by wrapping thread over it until you get to about sixty percent of the hook shank.

  9. Twist dubbing on the thread.

 10. Wrap the dubbed thread around the shank creating a ball of dubbing at the head of the fly.

  11. Carefully fold the tinsel over the top of the fly keeping the tinsel straight along the top of the hook shank.  Tie the tinsel down with a three wraps of thread.

  12. Trim the butt end of the tinsel.

  13. Wrap thread around the hook shank until it builds up to a nice little hot spot.

  14. Whip finish the fly and apply head cement to complete the Rainbow Warrior.

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