Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lazy Sunday Nymphs

This afternoon, my wife decided she was going to go see a popular romance movie based off of a popular female romance novel of the same name that I had no interest in seeing. It gave my the opportunity to spend this dreary Sunday afternoon to stay home with the dog, listen to Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Riders, tie some flies, and wait for the incoming winter storm to hit. St. Louis is expecting 6-9 inches of snow tonight, so it looks like I'll be working from home tomorrow as well. The downside is that Part Four of the fly-tying class I was taking will probably be cancelled. Hopefully they'll reschedule.

But today I got a lot of tying practice in, and experimented with some patterns I haven't gotten to try before. Most of these come from Peter Gathercole's "The Fly-Tying Bible." I've found this book to be incredibly helpful. Gathercole manages to condense fly patterns into six photos each.

The first fly I tied, however, did not come from this book, but rather was Mike Ott's Pheasant-Tail Nymph pattern. I've been practicing this pattern for over a week, and still find it challenging to correctly form the pheasant tail legs at the head of the fly.

Pheasant-Tail Nymph
Pheasant-Tail Nymph

I'm tying this pattern on a size 16 hook and using brown thread. I wrap the shank of the hook in .025 lead wire. At the bend of the hook I tie on a pinch of pheasant tail fibers, making the tail about the length of the fly. I also tie on a section of copper wire. I wrap the remainer of the pheasant tail fibers to about the midway point on the hook and tie it there. I then wrap the copper wire in the opposite direction as the pheasant tails, forming a gill/rib.

At the midway point, I tie on a second section of pheasant tail fibers (shiny side down), and two or three peacock herls. I wrap the peacock herls to about one eye-length from the eye to form the thorax and tie it there. I then bend the pheasant fibers over the thorax and tie at the eye. I split the remainder of the pheasant tail fibers in two equal parts, and pull them back over both sides of the hook to form the legs. I tie the legs in place, and do a wrap finish behind the eye to lock everything in. I trim the legs to about the length of the peacock herl thorax.

The second fly I tied today was the Brassie. This is described as a "small, simple, and deadly" pattern used for brown trout, cutthroats, graylings, and rainbow trout. It is designed to imitate midge pupae. It's a very simple two-material fly. First I wrapped the shank of the hook in brown thread, and at the bend, tied in a length of copper wire. I wrapped the copper wire up to the thorax and tied it off. At the thorax, the book suggested using muskrat or dark rabbit fur for dubbing, but mentioned you could use peacock herl. That's what I chose to do. I tied in two strands of peacock herl, and wrapped it to the eye. I tied off the herl and finished the fly with a whip finish.

While this was a relatively simply fly, you can see from the photo below, that my copper wire wraps were not tight enough. Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to try fishing this fly, but probably as a secondary fly ties onto something larger, like a Pheasant-Tail Nymph.

Brassie with a Peacock Herl Thorax
Fly number three was the Teeny Nymph. The fly is pretty similar the Pheasant-Tail Nymph, but using pheasant tail fibers for the entire body length, and instead of a tail, had two sets of legs under hook shank. I tie a section of pheasant tail fibers at the bend of the hook and wrap the fibers to the center of the hook shank. There I pull the remainder of the fibers back under the hook and tie off. At the same spot, I tie on a second section of tail fibers and wrap them to the eye of the hook. There, I do the same thing, pulling the remainder of the fibers under the hook and tying it off and whip-finishing.

I'm not a fish, but to my, this fly doesn't look as appetizing as the others. I'll give it a shot this spring, and if it works, I'll be elated, because it was a lot easier to tie than a Pheasant-Tail Nymph. As you can see below though, I had some difficulty getting the fibers to stay under the hook.

Teeny Nymph
Teeny Nymph
Finally, I tried out a wet fly, a Diawl Bach. This fly uses a peacock herl body, wrapped in copper wire, and a brown cock hackle fiber tail and hackle. I start by tying on the hackle fibers at the tail. Also I tie on the peacock herl and the copper wire. I wrap the peacock herl to the eye, and follow it with the copper wire (though winding in the opposite direction to lock in the herl). At the eye, I tie in lock in both the herl and wire with some tight wraps and trim the excess. There I tie in the second pinch of hackle fibers and tie them in under the eye. The length is supposed to just reach the hook point. I tie the hackle fibers there, and whip finish.

I liked tying this fly a lot, and hopefully it will catch some fish. It's supposed to work for browns and rainbows, so it should be great for the Missouri trout parks. March cannot come soon enough this year. I have a lot of new patterns to try out. Hopefully I still remember how to cast . . .

Diawl Bach
Diawl Bach
Emily should be home from her movie soon. I can almost guarantee I had the better afternoon.

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