The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

Posts tagged “Nymph

Burrowing Mayfly Nymph

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Burrowing Mayfly Nymph

Hook Mustad R73 9671 # 8-12
Tying thread Dyneema
Tail Olive ostrich herl
Body Olive brown Antron dubbing
Rib Olive Ostrich herl
Thorax Olive brown Antron dubbing
Wing case Floss or Antron body wool
Legs Olive CdC

Although many nymph patterns today are intended to imitate a much greater spectrum of aquatic foods, rather than the nymphal stage of one specific, this pattern imitates the final nymphal stage of the largest burrowing mayflies Ephemera guttulata (Green Drake) and Ephemera simulans (Brown Drake) and the European relatives Ephemera danica and vulgate.. These nymphs prefer soft organic or sandy and muddy bottoms, where they can live more or less buried for up to several years, only appearing occasionally to feed on decomposing vegetable and plant matter. They have been known to burrow as deep as fifty feet. These large nymphs that range from 12-32 mm in length, can be easily recognised by the breathing gills along the sides of the rear body, and over sized fore legs that are adapted for burrowing. The gills however are not only used for breathing but also function as a ventilation system for the tunnel they burrow keeping water flowing through it, which in turn keeps it open. If the nymph leaves its burrow or stops the undulating movement of the gills, the burrow collapses shortly afterwards. These nymphs, are for most of their life, unavailable for the trout, but one of these on your leader at the correct time can make the difference between great sport and no sport. When the time is right and they leave the safety of their burrows, swimming quickly with an undulating body movement, (something that ostrich herl and CdC imitate beautifully) towards the surface, trout can feed on this ascending nymphal stage for several hours before turning on to the subimago winged stage. The weight that is placed under the thorax of the nymph helps emulate this undulating swimming action when pulled through the water with short pauses.

When it comes to tying these large nymphs your hook choice should reflect the natural body length, so a 3XL or a 4XL hook in a size 8-12 works well. The dubbing used for the rear body and the thorax should be one that absorbs water and not a water repellant dry fly dubbing. Another trick that helps to get the nymph down is after you have tied it on your leader give it a few seconds in the water and then squeeze it hard between your finger and thumb to press out any trapped air that may be caught in the dubbing and CdC. I also like to use a UV treated dubbing and Ostrich herl. Although I have not had the same marked results that show trout prefer the UV patterns in fresh water, unlike the results I have had in salt water, it does no harm in giving the pattern that extra edge that may make a difference. Previously I have used golden pheasant centre tail fibres for the wing case but these have proved to be a little too fragile for the small sharp teeth of trout, so I have substituted it with Antron body wool.

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1
Secure your 3 XL or 4XL nymph hook in the vice making sure that its horizontal.

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2
Attach your tying thread and cover the whole shank until the thread is hanging between the hook barb and point.

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3
When it comes to weighting flies I like to use a lead free alternative.

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4
Wind on a short length of lead free wire under the thorax, covering approximately one third of the hook shank.

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5
Once the lead free wire is wound and packed tight trim off the surplus.

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6
For the tails of the nymph you will need some olive ostrich herl, here I like to use a UV treated herl to the the nymph an extra edge.

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7
Select three herl’s with even tips. Tie inn the first herl on top centre of the hook shank. Again this should be about one third of the hook shanks length.

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8
Now tie in the other two herl’s one each side of the centre tail.

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9
Tie down the remaining herl along the whole hook shank and cut away the excess herl.

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10
Now select another long herl with nice long fibres for the ribbing that will represent the nymphs gills.

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11
Now spin some Antron dubbing tightly onto the tying thread. Make sure that this is tight so the finished body is dense.

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12
Continue with the Antron dubbing and build up a tapered rear body along 2/3 of the hook shank.

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13
Wind on the ostrich herl as a rib over the rear body part, making sure that the herl fibres stand out at 90 degrees from the hook shank. About 6-7 tight even turns, and tie off at the thorax.

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14
Remove the excess herl and carefully trim off the herl fibres, only on top of the body as shown. This is not necessary but gives a little more realistic look to the nymph.

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15
The trimmed rear body should now look like this from the side.

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16
And like this from above with the gills prominent along each side of the body.

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17
Now cut four lengths of floss or Antron body wool and tie these is as shown along the the top of the thorax these will form the wing case later.

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18
Trim off the ends of the floss behind the hook eye and tie down. Wind the tying thread back towards the rear body.

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19
Dub the whole thorax quite heavily and return the tying thread once again to the junction between the thorax and the rear body. Take care that you leave about 2-3 mm space behind the hook eye to tie off the wing case later.

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20
Place a large CdC hackle in a magic tool clip, notice how the CdC fibres taper in length from long on the left side getting shorter to the right.

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21
Transfer the CdC to the second Magic tool clip ready for use.

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22
Now spin the CdC with the longest fibres at the top of the dubbing loop, these are to be wound in the thorax first for the longest legs.

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23
Wind on the CdC dubbing brush in open even turns through the thorax to form the leg hackle.

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24
Taking hold off all four pieces of floss, fold them over the thorax and secure with a couple of turns of tying thread. Once the floss is correctly placed pull once again to tighten up the wing case and secure properly with a few more turns of tying thread.

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25
Trim off the excess floss and tie down the ends. If you are using Dyneema or another GSP thread you can colour it black with a permanent felt marker.

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26
Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Finish off with a drop of varnish.

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27
The finished olive mayfly nymph.

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28
The finished brown mayfly nymph.

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29
The finished grey mayfly nymph.


Killer Bug and Chadwick’s 477

Heres another little gem of a pattern that may be one of the most simple flies ever tied!

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The killer bug tied with the original Chadwick’s 477 reinforcing and mending wool.

This classic Grayling pattern from nymph expert and legendary river keeper Frank Sawyer still doesn’t disappoint, but if you follow Sawyer’s tying instruction, the killer or (grayling) bug as it was originally named, could and should only be tied with one brand and shade of wool, Chadwick’s No 477.

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Although this wool is not produced anymore there are a whole load of substitutes to be found and the original wool cards occasionally come up for auction. Like several of Sawyers patterns, in the original he diddent use tying thread, only red coloured copper wire.

Hook: S80NP-BR (old ref. S80-3906) <http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=2293>
Thread: Dyneema
Tag: Medium copper wire
Body: Chadwick’s 477 or any other pinkish grey darning wool

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1

Secure your wet fly hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.

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2

Attach your tying thread and cover the whole hook shank from just behind the hook eye to the bend.

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3

Cut a length of medium copper wire and tie this in a little down the hook bend.

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4

Now make 7 or 8 tight wraps of copper wire as shown for the tag. If you would like a heavier killer bug now is the time to add the extra weight.

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5

Tie off the copper wire and remove the excess. Cut a length of your chosen wool and tie this in along the length of the whole hook shank finishing at the tag.

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6

Now wrap the wool forward and back along the hook shank between the tag and the hook eye, but not too tight, the idea is that the body will absorb water. If you wrap the wool too tight this will be difficult. Once you have built up a cigar shaped body, tie off the wool behind the hook eye.

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7

Trim off the excess wool and finish with a couple of whop finishes.

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The proof of the pudding!


The Midas touch, confessions of a nymph-omaniac.

Bling, bling, Midas nymphs are the right way to go for winter grayling.

The Midas nymph is my rendition on a more common pattern called the copper John, which uses copper wire instead of gold oval tinsel amongst other things. The interesting thing about the copper John, according to Bruce Olsen sales manager for Umpqua Feather Merchants, The worlds largest manufacturer of commercially tied flies, the copper John is the best selling trout fly in the world. “We sell them by the tens of thousands” Bruce says, and thats just the original copper version. When you add in all the colour variant of that pattern, the numbers get to be absolutely staggering.”

 

Thousands of anglers around the world cant be wrong. If you haven’t tied and fished with the copper John, its probably time you did!

Head: Gold brass bead head

Hook: Mustad S6ONP-BR # 16-10

Tying thread: Dyneema

Tail: Golden pheasant topping

Body: Medium gold oval tinsel coated with Bug Bond  http://www.veniard.com/section188/  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

Thorax: Peacock  herl

Legs: Goose biots

Wing case: Medium oval gold tinsel

 

After having great success with bead head nymphs for both trout and grayling, over a period of time a pattern began to develop. Since the introduction of bead heads in the early eighties, we all know how well they fish, but if I was fishing with exactly the same weighted nymph, but tied with a black bead head instead of a gold one, the amount of takes where not dramatic, but noticeably reduced! So my natural chain of thought is that its the gold head which was the main attractor factor. Why not try a nymph that is totally gold !  After my initial attempts, I quickly discovered that the tinsel body and thorax where extremely venerable to small sharp teeth, and had a very short lifespan. But a coat or two with Bug Bond or Epoxy sorted that out.  This is a relatively new pattern and I have only fished it seriously last season, although the results where good, its still too early to say how good! Tie some up and try for yourself, you won’t be disappointed! This spring it will also be tested on sea trout…

 

1
Place your bead head on the hook and secure in the vice.

2
Run the tying thread over the whole length of the hook shank.

3
Tie in one or two small golden pheasant toppings as the tail.

4
On the underside of the hook shank tie in a good length of medium gold oval tinsel. The oval is better, round tinsel has a tendency to slip down the body.

5
You can now dub a tapered underbody. If you would like to add extra weight you could build up the under body with lead wire.

6
Now wind on the tinsel in tight even turns to form a segmented nymph body. Stop with good room for the thorax.

7
You can now give the body a good coat with Bug Bond. This not only protects the tinsel but also gives it extra “bling”. Cut four lengths of gold oval tinsel and tie these in to form the wing case, tight into the body.

8
Now apply a little more dubbing to bring the thorax up-to the required diameter.

9
At the base of the body tie in a good long peacock herl and move your tying thread froward to the bead head.

10
Make four or five turns with the herl and tie off. But dont trim off the remainder of the herl
you will need this later.

 

 

11
Take two goose biots and tie these in one each side of the thorax for the legs.

12
Cover the rest of the thorax with a few turns of peacock herl and tie off behind the bead head.

13
Now fold over the tinsel wing case and secure with a couple of loose turns of tying thread, trim off the tinsel wing case about three mm above the two loose turns of tying thread. This is so when you tighten the loose turns, the trimmed ends will disappear under and into the bead head.

14
carefully give the wing case a coat of Bug Bond, making sure that it doesn’t get onto the peacock herl thorax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fly tying course # 16 The model Nymph

Pheasant tail Nymph variant

# 16 in the fly tying course  is the model nymph, the basic pattern for most, if not all nymphs.  For those of you that are new to the website, you can find the previous 15 courses in earlier posts. If you have any questions regarding this or other posts, materials, hooks or anything fly tying related please dont hesitate to contact me, and i’ll do my best to help.

Cheers

The feather bender

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The original pheasant tail nymph came from the vice of legendary English fly tyer and fishermen Frank Sawyer around 1930. He designed the pheasant tail nymph to imitate may fly nymphs (Baetis) on the southern English river Avon, where he was river keeper. Sawyer’s original pattern used only pheasant tail fibers and fine copper wire instead of normal tying thread, to give the pattern extra weight. Although this is an excellent imitation of the swift swimming Baetis nymphs in little larger sizes it also works as an all round nymph for blind fishing.

With only only three materials, and tying thread needed for this pattern it still helps to choose the right materials. At first glance, one pheasant tail feather, looks like any other pheasant tail feather, or does it? Take a look at the pheasant tail feathers I chose at random from my materials, and you will see they are very different! Not only does the background colour and shading on each tail differ immensely but the black chevrons vary from light to dark and thin to thick. But probably the most important factor is fiber length. Normally the best marked feathers with the longest fiber length are found center top of the tail.

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So remember when buying pheasant tails dont just take the first one you see in the shop, look through them all and find the best for the flies you intend to tie. Examine the feather, is the tip all dirty and worn ? if so its probably come from a domestically bred bird. The best tail feathers are generally from wild birds. Check if the feather is clean and has a nice glossy sheen to it and all the fibers are in place. You should also avoid tail feathers with insect damage. This can easily be seen as a thin transparent line that runs 90 degrees from the feather shaft through the fibers, where the insect has eaten the feathers barbules.

Hook: Mustad S82NP # 18-10

Thread: Olive

Tail: Pheasant tail fibers

Abdomen: Pheasant tail fibers

Rib: Fine copper wire

Thorax: Peacock herl

Wing case: Pheasant tail fibers

Legs: Pheasant tail fibers

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1

Secure your hook in the vice so that the hook shank is horizontal.

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2

Attach your tying thread and run a foundation over the whole hook shank, until the thread hangs approximately vertically  with the hook barb.

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3

Firstly find a tail feather with nice long fibers. To get all the points of the pheasant tail fibers even for the tail, take a small bunch in between your finger and thumb and slowly pull them away from the shaft of the feather until all the points are level.

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4

Now still holding the bunch tight so the points remain level cut them away from the feather shaft with one swift cut.

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5

Tie in the tail fibers on top of the hook shank. Three turns of tying thread over the tail and two under. The tail should be approximately 2/3 of the hook shank length.

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6

Cut a 10 cm length of fine copper wire.

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7

Tie in the copper wire the whole length of the hook shank, finishing just before the tail base.

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8

Before you start to wind on the abdomen take your copper wire and swing it under and onto the back side of the hook, as shown. Before you commence wrapping the peasant tail fibers to form the abdomen make sure that ALL the fibers are parallel with each other! Not twisted.

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9

Once you have wrapped the fibers 2/3 the length of the hook shank Tie them off as shown with 4 or 5 tight turns of tying thread over the fibers and the two in front of the the fibers on the hook shank. This will lock the tying thread and stop it from slipping.

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10

Take the copper wire and firstly take one turn in the opposite direction you wound the fibers, around the tail base tight into the abdomen, and then 4 or 5 open turns to form the rib. Once you come to the remaining tuft of fibers at the thorax make several tight turns of wire along the remaining hook shank. Stopping about 3 mm from the hook eye.

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11

Trim off the tuft of fibers and cover the bare copper wire with a layer of tying thread.

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12

Now cut another bunch of tail fibers and tie them on a little way into the abdomen on top of the hook shank.

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13

Cut two peacock herls from just under the eye of the peacock tail feather. The herl found here is much stronger than lower on the tail feather.

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14

Trim off the excess fibers from the wing case. Tie in the peacock herls, point first and cover the ends with tying thread towards the hook eye.

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15

Take both peacock herls at the same time and wrap them over the whole thorax making sure they dont twist and cross each other. Tie off behind the hook eye and cut off the excess.

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16

Cut a small bunch of pheasant tail fibers and tie in as shown, just behind the hook eye on the side of the thorax.

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17

Trim off the excess fiber and repeat step 16 on the other side of the thorax.

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18

Now take the bunch of pheasant tail fibers you tied in for the wing case, and fold them over the thorax. Again taking care to make sure that all the fibers are parallel and dont cross over each other.

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19

Trim off the fibers over the hook eye, about the same length as the hook eye and whip finish. Remove the tying thread and coat the whippings with a small drop of varnish.

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20

The finished pheasant tail nymph as seen from above, note the symmetry in the tail, body wing case and legs.


Fly tying course # 4 a simple nymph

Now you should have learned the basics, mounting the hook, attaching the tying thread and the whip finish. With these you should be able to start and finish a fly, its just what’s in between now!

I always believe its better to start with a simple pattern that illustrates other elementary techniques, than demonstrating each technique one for one. When you are tying this pattern you may find that handling the materials is a somewhat difficult task especially if you have large fingers and are not use to intricate work. But let me assure you, this will come with time. What I would like you to do, is tie six, of the following pattern. Try and make them as best you can, take your time and try and get the proportions correct. As you tie one after another and handle the materials and practice the technique, you will understand them more with each fly tied. As you tie, line up the flies one after another, and you should be able to see a substantial increase in quality and style from n.1 to n. 6.

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Dont forget! If you have any questions please dont hesitate to ask. Just post your question at the foot of this page.

If you would like to receive a message when the next stage of the course is published, just add your e mail address at the top right of this page. Thanks, The feather bender.

For this first pattern I have chosen the Montana nymph. This is no random choice, This is not only an excellent fishing fly that I have caught just about everything from perch to salmon on, but it also has many simple techniques that are used in hundreds, if not thousands of other patterns.

Before you start, make sure your work space is tidy, and you have only the materials you need for this pattern to hand. The only tools you need are some small sharp pointed scissors, dubbing needle, hackle pliers and whip finish tool.

Hook: Mustad R73 9671# 6-12

Tying thread: Black

Tail: Black hackle fibers

Body: Black chenille

Thorax: Green or yellow chenille with lead wire under

Wing case:  Black chenille

Hackle: Black

Today the Montana nymph has a almost classic status. The original, Montana Stone, was tied by Lew Oatman from New York. It was tied to represent a range of large stonefly nymphs and not one particular species. The tying technique for the Montana is like learning to eat with chopsticks! At first it looks extremely difficult, but if shown the correct tying process it very simple, and when you have tied a half dozen you’ll never forget it! Today its tied in several variants. The yellow chenille can be changed for green or red and the black chenille with light olive. It can also be tied with a bead head.

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1

After you have secured your hook in the vice and attached your tying thread strip a small bunch of long hackle fibers from a black cock hackle. Tie these in for the tail of the nymph, at a position just before the hook bends so they stand straight out. They should be about 2/3 of the hook shaft length.

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2

Cut a short length of lead wire and warp it tightly around the thorax a few mm behind the hook eye as shown. Cover it in tying thread and then wind your tying thread back to the tail base.

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3

Cut a 10 cm length or a little longer if its easier for your to handle and tie this in along the hook shank from the lead wire to the tail base.

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4

Now wind on the chenille, about 5 or 6 tight even turns until you cover half the hook shank. Then tie down the chenille with 2 or 3 turns of tying thread.

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5

Dont cut off the length of chenille remaining. Take the loose end and tie it down tight into the other end of the chenille on top of the hook shank. Dont worry if the loop of chenille is large, it will be trimmed later,

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6

Cut a short length of green chenille and tie this in on top of the lead wire. Finishing close into the black chenille.

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7

Before you start winding the chenille tie in a cock hackle by the point again over the lead.

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8

Now wind on the green chenille in tight even turns towards the hook eye.

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9

Wind on the chenille and tie off, but leave enough room behind the hook eye to finish the fly.

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10

Once you have tied off the chenille take the hackle and attach a hackle plier and wind it in between the turns of green chenille. Make sure that the hackle fibers are pointing backwards. If done correctly you will see that it falls perfectly in place with each turn.

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11

When you come to the hook eye, tie off the hackle and cut off the excess.

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12

Now to the black chenille loop. Take the loop in your right hand and pull it over the thorax of the nymph to form the wing case. Tie down with 2 or 3 turns of tying thread, as close to the green chenille as possible.

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13

Carefully trim off the excess chenille and whip finish. Try and make the head of the nymph not to large. Finish with a drop of varnish.

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14

Heres an arial view of the Montana nymph. Check the proportions of the tail, body, thorax and hackle and compare with your own before attempting to tie the next.


Fly tying course # 16 The model Nymph

Pheasant tail Nymph variant

Apologies, apologies, and more apologies dear friends… Its been a busy summer and posting has had to take a lesser priority in the last few weeks, for photography and fishing.  But I am back and will be posting regularly again! 

My first post is # 16 in the fly tying course and is the model nymph, the basic pattern for most, if not all nymphs.  For those of you that are new to the website, you can find the previous 15 courses in earlier posts. If you have any questions regarding this or other posts, materials, hooks or anything fly tying related please dont hesitate to contact me, and i’ll do my best to help.

Cheers

The feather bender

IMG_0501

The original pheasant tail nymph came from the vice of legendary English fly tyer and fishermen Frank Sawyer around 1930. He designed the pheasant tail nymph to imitate may fly nymphs (Baetis) on the southern English river Avon, where he was river keeper. Sawyer’s original pattern used only pheasant tail fibers and fine copper wire instead of normal tying thread, to give the pattern extra weight. Although this is an excellent imitation of the swift swimming Baetis nymphs in little larger sizes it also works as an all round nymph for blind fishing.

With only only three materials, and tying thread needed for this pattern it still helps to choose the right materials. At first glance, one pheasant tail feather, looks like any other pheasant tail feather, or does it? Take a look at the pheasant tail feathers I chose at random from my materials, and you will see they are very different! Not only does the background colour and shading on each tail differ immensely but the black chevrons vary from light to dark and thin to thick. But probably the most important factor is fiber length. Normally the best marked feathers with the longest fiber length are found center top of the tail.

IMG_0400

So remember when buying pheasant tails dont just take the first one you see in the shop, look through them all and find the best for the flies you intend to tie. Examine the feather, is the tip all dirty and worn ? if so its probably come from a domestically bred bird. The best tail feathers are generally from wild birds. Check if the feather is clean and has a nice glossy sheen to it and all the fibers are in place. You should also avoid tail feathers with insect damage. This can easily be seen as a thin transparent line that runs 90 degrees from the feather shaft through the fibers, where the insect has eaten the feathers barbules.

Hook: Mustad S82NP # 18-10

Thread: Olive

Tail: Pheasant tail fibers

Abdomen: Pheasant tail fibers

Rib: Fine copper wire

Thorax: Peacock herl

Wing case: Pheasant tail fibers

Legs: Pheasant tail fibers

IMG_0407

1

Secure your hook in the vice so that the hook shank is horizontal.

IMG_0408

2

Attach your tying thread and run a foundation over the whole hook shank, until the thread hangs approximately vertically  with the hook barb.

IMG_0402

3

Firstly find a tail feather with nice long fibers. To get all the points of the pheasant tail fibers even for the tail, take a small bunch in between your finger and thumb and slowly pull them away from the shaft of the feather until all the points are level.

IMG_0409

4

Now still holding the bunch tight so the points remain level cut them away from the feather shaft with one swift cut.

IMG_0411

5

Tie in the tail fibers on top of the hook shank. Three turns of tying thread over the tail and two under. The tail should be approximately 2/3 of the hook shank length.

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6

Cut a 10 cm length of fine copper wire.

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7

Tie in the copper wire the whole length of the hook shank, finishing just before the tail base.

IMG_0416

8

Before you start to wind on the abdomen take your copper wire and swing it under and onto the back side of the hook, as shown. Before you commence wrapping the peasant tail fibers to form the abdomen make sure that ALL the fibers are parallel with each other! Not twisted.

IMG_0418

9

Once you have wrapped the fibers 2/3 the length of the hook shank Tie them off as shown with 4 or 5 tight turns of tying thread over the fibers and the two in front of the the fibers on the hook shank. This will lock the tying thread and stop it from slipping.

IMG_0419

10

Take the copper wire and firstly take one turn in the opposite direction you wound the fibers, around the tail base tight into the abdomen, and then 4 or 5 open turns to form the rib. Once you come to the remaining tuft of fibers at the thorax make several tight turns of wire along the remaining hook shank. Stopping about 3 mm from the hook eye.

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11

Trim off the tuft of fibers and cover the bare copper wire with a layer of tying thread.

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12

Now cut another bunch of tail fibers and tie them on a little way into the abdomen on top of the hook shank.

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13

Cut two peacock herls from just under the eye of the peacock tail feather. The herl found here is much stronger than lower on the tail feather.

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14

Trim off the excess fibers from the wing case. Tie in the peacock herls, point first and cover the ends with tying thread towards the hook eye.

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15

Take both peacock herls at the same time and wrap them over the whole thorax making sure they dont twist and cross each other. Tie off behind the hook eye and cut off the excess.

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16

Cut a small bunch of pheasant tail fibers and tie in as shown, just behind the hook eye on the side of the thorax.

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17

Trim off the excess fiber and repeat step 16 on the other side of the thorax.

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18

Now take the bunch of pheasant tail fibers you tied in for the wing case, and fold them over the thorax. Again taking care to make sure that all the fibers are parallel and dont cross over each other.

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19

Trim off the fibers over the hook eye, about the same length as the hook eye and whip finish. Remove the tying thread and coat the whippings with a small drop of varnish.

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20

The finished pheasant tail nymph as seen from above, note the symmetry in the tail, body wing case and legs.


Fly tying course # 4 a simple nymph

Now you should have learned the basics, mounting the hook, attaching the tying thread and the whip finish. With these you should be able to start and finish a fly, its just what’s in between now!

I always believe its better to start with a simple pattern that illustrates other elementary techniques, than demonstrating each technique one for one. When you are tying this pattern you may find that handling the materials is a somewhat difficult task especially if you have large fingers and are not use to intricate work. But let me assure you, this will come with time. What I would like you to do, is tie six, of the following pattern. Try and make them as best you can, take your time and try and get the proportions correct. As you tie one after another and handle the materials and practice the technique, you will understand them more with each fly tied. As you tie, line up the flies one after another, and you should be able to see a substantial increase in quality and style from n.1 to n. 6.

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Dont forget! If you have any questions please dont hesitate to ask. Just post your question at the foot of this page.

If you would like to receive a message when the next stage of the course is published, just add your e mail address at the top right of this page. Thanks, The feather bender.

For this first pattern I have chosen the Montana nymph. This is no random choice, This is not only an excellent fishing fly that I have caught just about everything from perch to salmon on, but it also has many simple techniques that are used in hundreds, if not thousands of other patterns.

Before you start, make sure your work space is tidy, and you have only the materials you need for this pattern to hand. The only tools you need are some small sharp pointed scissors, dubbing needle, hackle pliers and whip finish tool.

Hook: Mustad R73 9671# 6-12

Tying thread: Black

Tail: Black hackle fibers

Body: Black chenille

Thorax: Green or yellow chenille with lead wire under

Wing case:  Black chenille

Hackle: Black

Today the Montana nymph has a almost classic status. The original, Montana Stone, was tied by Lew Oatman from New York. It was tied to represent a range of large stonefly nymphs and not one particular species. The tying technique for the Montana is like learning to eat with chopsticks! At first it looks extremely difficult, but if shown the correct tying process it very simple, and when you have tied a half dozen you’ll never forget it! Today its tied in several variants. The yellow chenille can be changed for green or red and the black chenille with light olive. It can also be tied with a bead head.

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1

After you have secured your hook in the vice and attached your tying thread strip a small bunch of long hackle fibers from a black cock hackle. Tie these in for the tail of the nymph, at a position just before the hook bends so they stand straight out. They should be about 2/3 of the hook shaft length.

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2

Cut a short length of lead wire and warp it tightly around the thorax a few mm behind the hook eye as shown. Cover it in tying thread and then wind your tying thread back to the tail base.

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3

Cut a 10 cm length or a little longer if its easier for your to handle and tie this in along the hook shank from the lead wire to the tail base.

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4

Now wind on the chenille, about 5 or 6 tight even turns until you cover half the hook shank. Then tie down the chenille with 2 or 3 turns of tying thread.

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5

Dont cut off the length of chenille remaining. Take the loose end and tie it down tight into the other end of the chenille on top of the hook shank. Dont worry if the loop of chenille is large, it will be trimmed later,

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6

Cut a short length of green chenille and tie this in on top of the lead wire. Finishing close into the black chenille.

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7

Before you start winding the chenille tie in a cock hackle by the point again over the lead.

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8

Now wind on the green chenille in tight even turns towards the hook eye.

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9

Wind on the chenille and tie off, but leave enough room behind the hook eye to finish the fly.

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10

Once you have tied off the chenille take the hackle and attach a hackle plier and wind it in between the turns of green chenille. Make sure that the hackle fibers are pointing backwards. If done correctly you will see that it falls perfectly in place with each turn.

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11

When you come to the hook eye, tie off the hackle and cut off the excess.

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12

Now to the black chenille loop. Take the loop in your right hand and pull it over the thorax of the nymph to form the wing case. Tie down with 2 or 3 turns of tying thread, as close to the green chenille as possible.

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13

Carefully trim off the excess chenille and whip finish. Try and make the head of the nymph not to large. Finish with a drop of varnish.

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14

Heres an arial view of the Montana nymph. Check the proportions of the tail, body, thorax and hackle and compare with your own before attempting to tie the next.


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Virtual Nymph

My first attempt with some of the great Virtual Nymph products I received at the weekend and Bug Bond. Not 100% happy with the results, but when I have played a little more, I will be making the full step by step for this Stone fly nymph.

Hook:  Mustad Slow death 33862NP-BR  http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=2196

Thread:  Dyneema

Tail:  Porcupine guard hairs

Underbody:  Natural seal fur Dubbing

Body:  Natural nymph skin

Wing cases Virtual nymph stone clinger wing-buds and heads coated with Bug Bond

Legs:  Turkey biots coated with Bug Bond

Antenna:  Porcupine guard hairs

Check out the products on: http://www.virtual-nymph.com/ and  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/ http://www.veniard.com/section188/


The Midas touch, confessions of a nymph-omaniac.

Bling, bling, Midas nymphs are the right way to go for winter grayling.

The Midas nymph is my rendition on a more common pattern called the copper John, which uses copper wire instead of gold oval tinsel amongst other things. The interesting thing about the copper John, according to Bruce Olsen sales manager for Umpqua Feather Merchants, The worlds largest manufacturer of commercially tied flies, the copper John is the best selling trout fly in the world. “We sell them by the tens of thousands” Bruce says, and thats just the original copper version. When you add in all the colour variant of that pattern, the numbers get to be absolutely staggering.”

 

Thousands of anglers around the world cant be wrong. If you haven’t tied and fished with the copper John, its probably time you did!

Head: Gold brass bead head

Hook: Mustad S6ONP-BR # 16-10

Tying thread: Dyneema

Tail: Golden pheasant topping

Body: Medium gold oval tinsel coated with Bug Bond  http://www.veniard.com/section188/  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

Thorax: Peacock  herl

Legs: Goose biots

Wing case: Medium oval gold tinsel

 

After having great success with bead head nymphs for both trout and grayling, over a period of time a pattern began to develop. Since the introduction of bead heads in the early eighties, we all know how well they fish, but if I was fishing with exactly the same weighted nymph, but tied with a black bead head instead of a gold one, the amount of takes where not dramatic, but noticeably reduced! So my natural chain of thought is that its the gold head which was the main attractor factor. Why not try a nymph that is totally gold !  After my initial attempts, I quickly discovered that the tinsel body and thorax where extremely venerable to small sharp teeth, and had a very short lifespan. But a coat or two with Bug Bond or Epoxy sorted that out.  This is a relatively new pattern and I have only fished it seriously last season, although the results where good, its still too early to say how good! Tie some up and try for yourself, you won’t be disappointed! This spring it will also be tested on sea trout…

 

1
Place your bead head on the hook and secure in the vice.

2
Run the tying thread over the whole length of the hook shank.

3
Tie in one or two small golden pheasant toppings as the tail.

4
On the underside of the hook shank tie in a good length of medium gold oval tinsel. The oval is better, round tinsel has a tendency to slip down the body.

5
You can now dub a tapered underbody. If you would like to add extra weight you could build up the under body with lead wire.

6
Now wind on the tinsel in tight even turns to form a segmented nymph body. Stop with good room for the thorax.

7
You can now give the body a good coat with Bug Bond. This not only protects the tinsel but also gives it extra “bling”. Cut four lengths of gold oval tinsel and tie these in to form the wing case, tight into the body.

8
Now apply a little more dubbing to bring the thorax up-to the required diameter.

9
At the base of the body tie in a good long peacock herl and move your tying thread froward to the bead head.

10
Make four or five turns with the herl and tie off. But dont trim off the remainder of the herl
you will need this later.

 

 

11
Take two goose biots and tie these in one each side of the thorax for the legs.

12
Cover the rest of the thorax with a few turns of peacock herl and tie off behind the bead head.

13
Now fold over the tinsel wing case and secure with a couple of loose turns of tying thread, trim off the tinsel wing case about three mm above the two loose turns of tying thread. This is so when you tighten the loose turns, the trimmed ends will disappear under and into the bead head.

14
carefully give the wing case a coat of Bug Bond, making sure that it doesn’t get onto the peacock herl thorax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Nymph-omaniac

Mayfly Nymph

A general pattern for most large mayfly nymphs

Hook Mustad R73 9671 # 8-12

Tying thread Dyneema

Tail Olive ostrich herl

Body Olive brown Antron dubbing

Rib Olive Ostrich herl

Thorax Olive brown Antron dubbing

Wing case Golden pheasant tail

Legs Peasant tail

This pattern imitates the nymph stage of our two largest mayflies, Ephemera 

vulgata,  that is most common in lakes, and Ephemera danica, that is most common in slow flowing rivers and streams. These nymphs prefer sandy or muddy bottoms, where they live more or less buried for two to three years.  These large nymphs can be recognized by the breathing gills along the sides of the rear body.  Nymph patterns like this one should be weighted, so that they don´t swim up side down in the water, this should be done by tying in two strips of lead wire on the underside of the hook shank. The R73 hook from Mustad that I have used here is so heavy in the bend that it will swim the right way even if you use extra weight under the thorax. On these large nymphs I prefer to use Golden pheasant as the wing case. These tail feather fibers are tougher than normal ring neck pheasant tails fibers and have a little more shine.

1
Secure your hook in the vice and attach your tying thread.

2
Wind on a short length of lead free wire under the thorax.

3
Tie in three long ostrich herl fibers for the tail. These should be tied in like the legs on a photo tripod.

4
Cut away two of the ostrich herls. The remaining one will be used for ribbing.

5
Spin the Antron dubbing onto the tying thread and dubb a tapered body along 2/3 of the hook shank.

6
Wind on the ostrich herl as a rib over the rear body part. About 6-7 even turns. Remove the access herl.

7
Cut off the small ostrich herl fibers on the top and bottom of the rear body.

8
The rear body should now look like this.

9
Clip a large bunch of golden pheasant tail fibers and tie them in close to the rear body end.

10
Cover the thorax with dubbing, finishing about 2-3 mm behind the hook eye.

11
Cut two smaller bunches with normal pheasant tail fibers and tie in on both sides of the thorax as shown.

12
Spin a little more dubbing and dubb in front of the legs.

13
Pull the fibers over the thorax to form the wing case.

14
Tie down the fibers behind the hook eye.

15
Trim off the access pheasant fibers and whip finish. Apply a little varnish and your large mayfly nymph is finished.

16
The nymph seen from above.