Krystal Bullet and Krystal Flash

Krystal BulletI purchase a lot of Hareline Dubbin supplies and I am always happy with the quality. So tonight I researched a little about Bob Borden, the owner of Hareline Dubbin to see what I could dig up.

Hareline got its start when Bob was working for The Caddis Fly Shop back in the 1970s. He was one of the professional tyers for the shop, so the shop’s owner asked him to shear and dye some rabbit fur because he was having trouble with his supplier. Bob went home, fired up his wife’s stove and dyed 24 different colors of rabbit. He hasn’t stopped since.

One of Bob Borden’s major introductions was the twisted mylar, Krystal Flash. It can be used in many different applications and has been a staple in fly tying for years.

I thought it would be appropriate to tie up one of Bob’s orignal flies, the Krystal Bullet. This fly was originally created to chase winter steelhead and Krystal Flash was used to shape the bullet head, thus the name. The fly can be tied in many colors, like green, pink and orange. I’ve tied a black one here using blue Krystal Flash. The recipe is:


Body – Black Chenille with one wrap underneath the tail.

Tail – Krystal Flash, 5 to 7 strands

Head and collar – Krystal Flash, see instructions below


The trickiest part about this fly is tying the head correctly. I followed these instructions I found in the book, Steelhead: Fly Fishing by Trey Combs.

The “hackle” is tied down in two steps. First, spin the Krystal Flash around the hook at the head and tie down just behind the eye with the tips extending forward. Wind the thread down the hook and tie in the tail, five to seven strands of Krystal Flash. Tie in the chenille, wind the thread forward, bring the chenille forward, and tie off. Draw the Krystal Flash toward the rear of the fly and bind down the “hackle”. (Bob finds it helpful to use a ball-point pen without the liner, or a similar tube, to force over the eye of the hook and evenly spread out the Krystal Flash.) These steps create the Bullet’s “head.”

Make sure to secure the Krystal Flash near the eye before using your tube or pen to fold them back. This is the key to making the bullet correctly.

I haven’t found many pictures of this pattern, but the ones I did see used a traditional style salmon hook. For this one, I used the new Daiichi Van Klinken Bronze Bomber Hook in a size 4. I’ve been ordering various new products to review here on FrankenFly and this was in Hareline’s new product list on their website, so I thought I would try it. It is a nice sturdy hook and can be used for salmon, steelhead, bass, or large trout. I like the width of the hook gap and it is a sharp hook. It didn’t have any trouble pricking my finger when I was working on this fly.

I enjoyed tying the Krystal Bullet and I am thinking about tying a Patriot using Krystal Flash in the future.



Filed under Steelhead

2 Responses to Krystal Bullet and Krystal Flash

  1. Sherman Vandre'

    American Angler & FlyTyer Winter 1988.

    First article I saw about the krystal bullet flys. In the article there is a reference to a certain hook.

    • Paul Beel

      That’s very interesting. I didn’t know about the article.
      It would be interesting to know what hook was specified in the article.