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Old 10-09-2013, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

I feel your pain when you talk about wasting hooks. As you keep improving as a fly tier it will only get worse, you'll look at flies you have lying around and feel embarrassed. I learned to give flies away to friends so I could keep practicing and not end up with a ton of flies I didn't want to fish. Cutting the materials off works fine too. If you haven't already, check out Allen Fly Fishing, they sell good hooks at a good price.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

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Originally Posted by williamhj View Post
I feel your pain when you talk about wasting hooks. As you keep improving as a fly tier it will only get worse, you'll look at flies you have lying around and feel embarrassed. I learned to give flies away to friends so I could keep practicing and not end up with a ton of flies I didn't want to fish. Cutting the materials off works fine too. If you haven't already, check out Allen Fly Fishing, they sell good hooks at a good price.
I think I have about a thousand Allen hooks and I like them a lot. That sure sounds like a lot until I discovered how many sizes and styles they come in. I have started recycling them already as I ran out of beads pretty quick so the ugly flies had to go. You are right though, the small amount of materials wasted on a botched PT or CJ nymph is not a big deal to lose. I did run through a significant amount of nice marabou while screwing up woolies for the fly swap though.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

But remember, we're saving money... keep telling yourself that
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

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But remember, we're saving money... keep telling yourself that
Savin a fortune. My new Renzetti vise arrived yesterday. I should save more money a lot faster on the new vise. I took my daughter flyfishing for the first time Sunday. If I take her more often perhaps I will save money. That girl can flat catch walnut trees.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

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Originally Posted by ia_trouter View Post
Tonight I am fighting the pheasant tail. In size 12 I can tie a very respectable ph-tail, peacock body and ph-wings. It looks good and has proper proportions. Is that good enough to go fishing without adding thin skin and such? Same with Copper John. I can wrap the wire body nice. Start making the thorax fancy and I screw it up everytime so far. I'd like to move on to at leasts 16s, if I try to get fancy now I will be stuck with 8-10s which I just don't think will work so well on my local trout.
Yeah, for the Driftless you'll definitely want to focus in on the 12-18 range. Mostly tying in the 14-18 range.

Do you still have some of those nymphs I sent you as a reference point for the ones your doing? While Youtube videos are nice to have since they show you the steps, having the real thing in front of you can make a world of difference.

If you're struggling with coming up with a substitute for a material that you don't have, just ask the people here. Some of my best patterns are ones that I change up a bit from the original because I didn't have the right material. I know itchmeiser really likes to fish red pheasant tails, instead of the traditional natural colors. I do the same thing with some of my beatis nymphs, copper johns, and as well as buggers. Rather than tying a Copper John with copper or red wire, sometimes I'll use chartreuse or silver. Just to change things up a little bit. Don't have a partridge skin? Find yourself a pheasant skin instead (you live in Iowa... they're everywhere!). Don't have thin skin? How about a spool of mylar flash, or some krystal flash? Even a ziplock bag cut into a thin strip and colored with a sharpie will do the job just fine.

The point is, don't think that your pattern won't work just because it isn't tied exactly like the ones you see in books or on Youtube. Everything is worth a try once. If they don't work, take it home and cut it up with the razor. But unless you give it a try, you'll never know if you have a great pattern.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

Ted

Yes I do have a few of your nymphs left, but they are a great source of torment as they are small and too perfect. I caught a lot of trout on them. I'll have them replaced soon. May have to settle for 16s this week, and that will probably be just fine. PTs are probably good enough. My CJs need considerable work.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

I cheat on my PTN's:

Tie in the tail and clip the butts.
Tie in the ribbing wire and more tail fibers - wrap the body and counter wrap with the wire.
Tie in a quill slip for the wing case (usually black/brown natural turkey tail.)
Tie in a starling body feather tip first.
Tie in an extra piece of thread and a few herls - twist a brush and wrap.
Palmer the starling through the thorax and tie down.
Fold the wing case down and tie down.

I also have an altoids tin of the butts of muddler wings and tails I will hit with brown permanent marker and dot with black and use these as a wing case slip. Have another altoids box of mallard and wood duck flank sections from Honberg Specials, and will hit these with maker as well and use them. [Wood Duck flank makes great tails and wing cases for a Hare's Ear nymph.]

The palmered starling (or any small dark feather) is optional. Even just a single turn as a collar gives the appearance of legs/gills.

Generally tie these with a under-body of fine lead wire, tiv-er-gake, most of the thorax area.

Not the traditional, or ever the common tie, but it works for me.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

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Originally Posted by ia_trouter View Post
I will do my best to focus this as best I can. I have graduated from woolies and am tying my first nymphs. They work very well on my home water so I truly need to do it soon. I have watched a LOT of youtube vids. Most of the ties are complicated with a lot of different materials to get the perfect thorax with lots of flash etc. They are tying them on larger hooks than I really want, and of course it is much easier to get detail in a size 8-10 vs 16-18 I would prefer. My initial attempts have been a Copper John, Prince and Pheasant tail. I do want to tie them beautiful and complicated eventually. I'm not looking for the easy way out in the end. I love tying and want to be great at it someday. But for now.....

Tonight I am fighting the pheasant tail. In size 12 I can tie a very respectable ph-tail, peacock body and ph-wings. It looks good and has proper proportions. Is that good enough to go fishing without adding thin skin and such? Same with Copper John. I can wrap the wire body nice. Start making the thorax fancy and I screw it up everytime so far. I'd like to move on to at leasts 16s, if I try to get fancy now I will be stuck with 8-10s which I just don't think will work so well on my local trout.
Watch this video. It might answer your question.


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Old 10-10-2013, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

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Originally Posted by ted4887 View Post
Yeah, for the Driftless you'll definitely want to focus in on the 12-18 range. Mostly tying in the 14-18 range.

c Don't have a partridge skin? Find yourself a pheasant skin instead (you live in Iowa... they're everywhere!). pattern.
The man speaks truth here. Its October in Iowa. Get thee a shotgun and hie thyself out to a management area. Ground sluice the little *******s if you need to and you're not a bird hunter. We're talking meat and feathers here, not sport. Carefully skin them, scrape the fat and rub the skin with Borax, not salt. Two or three cocks and you'll have a lifetimes supply. Half a dozen and you've got good trading materials that will more than pay for the license. Get hunting. The best part? Even if you don't score, a couple of guys who have will probably let you skin their birds, and if they want the skin on? I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that the feathers are yours if you'll volunteer to pluck them. If someone had made me that offer after a duck hunt there'd have been a stampede to see who could get their ducks to him first.

PS, Cap a bunny while you're at it. You'll find them both in the thick cover you'll be kicking up for birds and #6 shot will work on both. The only difference in treatment is that you want to rub the rabbit with kosher salt and use borax on birds. Pheasant feathers, rabbit dubbing and good food. What more do want?
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Last edited by fq13; 10-10-2013 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:27 AM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

Tying daily will help the most . The internet is you best source of info . Sizes I use the most are 16 to 22 . Don't over look the midges just thread and extra small wire in silver and copper.
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