Posts Tagged ‘Fly Tying: Nymph


Lightroom….But none’s shining in my noggin

When I had a Dell, I got by nicely using Photoscape, Picasa and Microsoft Picture Manager. I sprung for a Mac and I have not been very happy with the offerings (IPhoto, Gimp). So, I bought Adobe Lightroom 3 and so far I have a sense of when I was back in high school in that Algebra class. I didn’t receive good marks. 

I was experimenting with apertures and f-stops. I settled on this and am passing it off as some artistic effort and you will be none the wiser. How embarrassing.

First of all it is probably partly garbage in/garbage out. I have somehow forgotten how to set my lighting up and white back grounds turn out blue or grey (I know, simple for most, but not me. I even have the Dummies book for my Canon XTi). My beautiful Canon EF 100mm macro is begging me to figure things out. So, forgive my shots. If you think you didn’t clean your glasses or are having a dizzy spell….you’re not! It’s me.

Things are a bit busy and chaotic right now so in time I will get set up, study up and not burden you with my experiments. I’m going with the glass is half full concept with my pictures.

A little Callibaetis nymph. The fly is not straight on so the simple effort to have it in focus, front to rear eluded me.


Fly Tying: Hot Spot Nymphs (Natural +)

Hot Spot Nymphs Collage

As a beginning fly tier, you will see the pattern index is full of a large array of patterns, most of which tend toward a natural, impressionistic look. The incorporation of a ‘hot spot’ does fly in the face of traditions and for some tiers smacks of an egg pattern, worm pattern or some sort of Jezebel.

This push/pull mental process is for you to sort out and is part of the fun of fly tying and fly fishing. The hot spot of red, orange, blue, chartreuse etc. does add interest to a fly pattern. The hot spot can be pronounced or it can be the subtle variety like say a thread head. Experiment with hot spots at the tail, butt section of abdomen, thorax, thread head or hackle barbs. 



BWO’s: Small Nymph Time for Winter

Patience Brewster

As a beginning fly tier, you may be jumping all over the map with your tying. Perhaps as the trout season slows down a bit hatch wise, now is a good time to catch up on tying a fly fishing staple and it will also serve you well through the Winter season (if you venture out in the cold to chase trout…a steelheader will, of course, relish this masochistic time of year).

SwittersB Fly Box (Direct Sunlight Shot per advice of Planet Trout)

Tie up a bunch of Pheasant Tail Nymphs and fish the little beauties for the coming Blue Winged Olive’s this Fall and then again in late Winter/early Spring. I am sure you tied a few of these in your beginning fly tying course last Winter. Now revisit the pattern and tie a bunch more in sizes 14, 16 and yes 18’s.

Pheasant Tail Nymph (SwittersB)

In addition to Blue Winged Olives (BWO), you should consider/research some “Little Dark Stones” and Chironomids/Midges. 



Alenko Franolic: Fly Fishing & Tying Design

German Fly Fisher and gear designer, Alenko Franolic has some innovative design options for fly reels and fly body components. I enjoy fly reels and definitely resist the urge to acquire them along the way. I like the looks of Franolic’s reels. 

An Alenko Franolic fly reel

Especially appealing are the various sized nymph bodies composed of pliable, elastic tungsten materials. The bodies come in a large variety of shapes and sizes. The nymph bodies are somewhat pliable and take the torque of the tying thread to better bind the materials to the body. 

Alenko Franolic elastic tungsten nymph bodies

I am torn on these types of materials. Innovative, pre-formed components. Tying purists will blanch at the idea of these body parts. I recall a certain shop owner fussing over the intro of bead heads into fly tying in the mid-80’s. But, I just don’t know if it is that bad or blasphemous. Tinsels, flash, iridescence, plastics, molded lead bodies all have infringed on fur, feathers and hair. There’s a place for these material if there is a place for foams, Krystal flash or Zelon. If anyone has used these fly bodies, I would like to hear their critiques.


Fly Fishing: Remember Floating Nymphs

For surface presentations, floating nymph patterns seem to fall below the fly fisher’s radar compared to the standard dry fly or the emerger patterns. When we tie and fish nymphs we often weight them and fish them deep along the bottom where we are told the majority of fish feed. The deep presentation is true. But, when we see the surface activity, we enjoy the ease of casting a floating line and observing the take at or near the surface.

An unweighted mayfly nymph may be just the right choice for fish feeding at the surface ~SwittersB~

 An unweighted nymph can be an interesting fly choice in the surface film. When fish are bulging or slashing  just below the surface, the dry fly may not be the answer just yet. Lately, this is when anglers have been presenting emerger patterns, the dry fly pattern with a trailing nymphal shuck. A good choice for sure. But, keep in mind using a nymph pattern that is of the same color as the adult mayfly you believe is coming off.

There are nymph patterns (floating nymphs) that incorporate visible material at the thorax area of the pattern that give the fly a degree of floatation and a point of reference near the surface.

Explore the option of an unweighted mayfly nymph pattern at the surface.



Fly Tying: SOS Baetis Nymph by Spencer Higa

Spencer Higa’s SOS Baetis Nymph: This simple nymph pattern, reputed to be a Mayfly nymph, is a nice beginner’s tie that is also likely productive. Click on green to see tutorial of simple, beginner’s tie.

Spencer Higa's SOS Nymph. Note here that there is a bit of a wing of Krystal Flash (like one-two small pieces) and a more spikey thorax (guard hairs from dubbing create 'spikey' or leggy appearance).


Fly Tying: Basic Dubbed Nymph for Beginning Tier

Generic Dubbed Nymph at Hip Wader that provides a good tutorial for the beginning tier

This little tutorial S-B-S provides several visuals that will help the beginning fly tier: The Bead head + wire wrapped shank. This helps add dense weight to the fly to get it down; the tail is synthetic and more durable than hackle barbs or a clump of fur; the use (dubbing) of animal fur, whether from a skin or out of a bag is a traditional facet of  tying. Learning to prepare the fur prior to dubbing is important to get the most out of the material. The Hip Wader site has nice tutorials….explore, but come back here!

Wire wrapped shank + bead head for dense weight (Hip Wader)

Another consideration here is Lead Free Wire for fly tying. I am often using lead wire on my shanks because I have spools of it, big spools. But, I have also bought and have been using the less dense, stiffer Lead Free wire. The combo of wire wraps + a bead head may provide the necessary weight to get the fly down. On smaller flies, it may be token effort without some form of shot on the leader. Either way, the combination of wire + a bead is a good tool for the beginner to consider. In more exacting imitations, a few more turns of wire and no bead may be called for. Some patterns won’t call for any weight. Swimmer nymphs fished higher in the water column don’t need to plummet to the depths. Research Lead Free wire and shot and alternative materials used in wire and shot.


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