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In this tying tutorial, I’ll show you how to tie my best trout fly of the season. It’s tied in a very generic style you’ll frequently see around these days. But, instead of being very flashy and having hotspot triggers, the fly is understated and modest.
I spend a great deal of time targeting trout in the clear, cool streams near Cape Town, South Africa. These trout are notoriously hard to catch consistently, and they bolt for cover when you throw anything flashy or in a fluorescent color their way.
If you’re fishing gin-clear streams or water with high fishing pressure, this fly is ideal for you.
- Difficulty level: Easy
- Tying time: 5 minutes
- Materials: Jig hook, slotted tungsten bead, thread, soft hackle fibers, ostrich feather, UV resin, pine squirrel dubbing
- Hook size: 14-20
What Makes the Fly Different?
As mentioned earlier, many of you might be familiar with the pattern itself. You can adapt the fly to have many trigger points and include flash. What I believe makes the fly so great is its profile, sink rate, and understated looks.
There’s a well-known fly fishing saying that runs something like: “If they aren’t eating, try something small and dark.” This concept is the foundation of the fly.
Watch the How to Tie My Favorite Trout Nymph Video
How to Fish the Fly
First off, this is a nymph, so we’re fishing it somewhere under the water’s surface. The tungsten bead allows the fly to sink, with the bead’s size dictating the sink rate. I use the fly in one of two fishing techniques.
Dry and Dropper
My favorite technique for small streams, the dry and dropper method, allows you to cover more water and presents the flies softly. I attach the nymph approximately 2 feet behind the dry, depending on the depth of the water.
In this case, the dry fly not only actively fishes but acts like a strike indicator tool. If you see any unnatural movement of the dry, set the hook.
This brown jig nymph works exceptionally well in standard nymphing rigs too.
Materials You’ll Need to Tie My Best Trout Nymph
You’ll need the following materials to tie the fly:
The fly is tied on a jig hook that forces the hook to ride hook up as it drifts through the water. One of the benefits of this is you get fewer snags that damage your hook point. You’ll also notice that most fish are hooked in the top jaw.
Any quality nymph jig hook will work in sizes from 14 to 20.
To get the fly down to where the fish are holding, the fly incorporates a tungsten bead. Since we’re using a jig hook, you want to be using a slotted tungsten bead, which allows the hook to float hook point up.
For flies between sizes 14 and 20, I recommend having beads between 3.5 mm and 2 mm in size. Try to keep the color as natural and subdued as possible, like black, brown, copper, etc.
To keep bulk buildup to a minimum, I recommend a thin flat-lying thread. Any color in shades of brown or grey will work perfectly. Here are some of my recommended threads:
- Griffith’s Sheer 14/0
- Danville’s 70 Denier
- Ultra-Thread UTC 70 Denier
- Semperfli Nanosilk 50 or 30 Denier
Soft Hackle Fibers
For the tail, we want to use fibers that are soft and thin. On these flies, I try to avoid stiff fibers, like Coq de Leon, as I feel those fibers aren’t that visible. So, I make use of between two and four fibers of hen hackle or partridge.
A single peacock herl strand is used per fly. I run an eraser over the strand to remove all the flashy fibers until we’re only left with the bare strand.
Although the peacock herl creates a beautifully natural-looking abdomen, it’s not very durable. We apply a light coating of thin UV resin over the body for added durability.
The small thorax is made from pine squirrel fibers. Yes, there are many other materials you can use, like fine seal fur or dubbing.
Tools Needed to Tie My Best Trout Nymph
You’ll need the following tools to tie my favorite trout nymph:
Step-by-Step Guide to Tie My Favorite Trout Nymph
As you’ll see in the steps laid out below, the fly is simple and quick to tie. Let’s first look at the specific materials I’m using.
The specific materials I’m using are:
- Hook: Hanak H 470BL #16
- Bead: 2.5mm Slotted tungsten bead brown
- Thread: Griffith’s Sheer 14/0 Cinnamon
- Tail: Partridge fibers
- Abdomen: Stripped peacock herl
- UV resin: Solarez Dry as a Bone Thin
- Thorax: Pine squirrel
Step 1: Slide the Bead onto the Hook
A slotted bead has a small circular hole on one side and a slot on the opposite side.
Slide the small hole over the hook point and let it run up to the eye.
Step 2: Secure the Hook in the Vise
Hold the hook between the vise’s jaws so that the shank is level and the hook points are visible.
Flip the vise’s cam lever to secure the hook in place and test to make sure it’s seated properly.
Step 3: Attach the Thread
Place the thread over the hook shank and make five wraps.
Then, wrap the thread over itself to lock it in place and trim off the excess.
Step 4: Secure the Bead
Rotate the bead until it slides onto the bent part of the jig-hook shank.
Push it as far forward as possible and secure it in place with a thread dam.
This process will prevent the bead from dislodging from its position, and it begins the foundation for the taper we’re after.
Step 5: Lay a Thread Foundation
Open the thread by spinning the bobbin holder counterclockwise.
Once the thread is flat, lay touching wraps rearwards and stop just before you reach the hook’s bend.
Step 6: Tie in the Tail
Stroke the fibers of a dark soft hackle feather so that their tips align, then trim off four fibers.
Measure the fibers to be about ½ of the shank length and tie in with a pinch wrap where you left the thread. Run the thread forward, cover the excess fibers and trim off behind the bead.
Open the thread and cover any exposed material.
Step 7: Prepare the Peacock Quill
Hold a single peacock herl strand against your tying desk and remove all the shiny fibers by rubbing the eraser against the grain.
Flip the feather over and repeat the process until you’re left with a bare feather.
Step 8: Tie in the Peacock Quill
Run the thread back to the base of the tail and tie in the thinnest part of the quill with a trapping wrap.
Run the thread forward, leaving a small gap behind the bead for the thorax.
Step 9: Wrap the Peacock Quill
Wrap the peacock quill around the shank with touching turns in the same direction as the thread.
Once you reach the location of the thread, tie off the quill and trim off the excess.
Step 10: Whip Finish
Do a quick three-turn whip finish to give more space for applying the UV resin to the abdomen.
Step 11: Seal the Abdomen
Cover the quill abdomen with a thin layer of UV resin. If you have a rotary vise, rotate the fly and use a bodkin to spread the resin evenly.
Zap the resin with a UV torch once you’re happy.
Step 12: Attach the Thread
Reattach the thread right behind the bead in the same way as Step 3 above.
Step 13: Dub the Thorax
Pull a small amount of pine squirrel fibers from the skin.
Remember, we want to add some bugginess but want to avoid building up too much bulk.
Create a nice slender dubbing noodle with the squirrel and dub the thorax.
Step 14: Finish the Fly
Add a spot of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails to the thread and do a three-turn whip finish. Trim off the thread.
That’s How to Tie My Ultimate Trout Nymph
As you can see, the fly is simple to tie but just looks so edible. I can assure you trout feel the same way, and if a trout doesn’t eat this fly, call it a day and head home.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, this is a generic trout nymph pattern, so please feel free to experiment with different materials and colors to suit the natural mayfly nymphs found in your waters.
If you found this article helpful, please share it with your fellow anglers and friends.
Until next time.
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