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Old 10-09-2013, 07:32 PM
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Default Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

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.

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Old 10-09-2013, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

I agree 8-10's are too big for the water I fish also, I also like 16-18's. I wouldn't get to concerned over getting all the flash on. One thing I have found with tying any pattern is that as you tie several, each successive fly gets better, so stick with one pattern until it looks proportionally correct. You might take a look at Charlie Craven's Fly Box, he has like 188 patterns listed with step-by-step details on how to tie each fly.
Charlie's FlyBox - Colorado's Best FlyShop and online Fly Tying Tutorials

Also look for the YouTube video on how Frank Sawyer tied the original PT, you will be surprised at how simple it is and it still catches a lot of trout.

Larry
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

+1 on proportions. Focus on getting flies proportioned right, tie a dozen at a time, then drop a size. Adding some material later will be easy if you get your tying technique down.
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

I've about stopped using synthetic 'thin skin' and opting to use natural feather fibers for the wing case. I can just fold it, shape it, blend it,,,better,,and in the end, it looks better...more natural. Does it affect fish,,,na, I doubt it,,I just have gotten used to using natural.
I put on about 75 percent of the thorax,,then tie in a v-shaped snippet of feather so it sticks out both sides and rear-ward,,tie it down,,blend in some more dubbing to cover my tie in carefully, then tie down the wing case.

In the beginning I was starting my wing case too far back on the hook and making it too large. My proportions were off. I'f im doing a wire body like a copper john,,,sometimes I'll take some thicker floss (Cheap craft store type) and hand wind a small body with the taper I want,and then go over it with my wire,,,so I never have to 'stack' wire. Seems to help and be a tad easier than profiling by stacking wire. You really don't need 'much' of a taper,,some tiers practically use none,,but I like just a wee bit of body taper. Another thing I've learned in my 'learning curve' is to NOT crowd the eye in the beginning or surely you will run out of room in the end.

Just a thought or two there pard,,,I'm not God's gift to fly tying,,but I have gotten respectable enough to not be ashamed of what I do tie.

One of the guys here,,I forget who,,gave me the best advice so far...'use far LESS material than you feel the urge to. You can always add more later.' Helped me get away from that 'gobby fat boy' look to my flies and helped them to look more like real insects right off.

Mike
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

I'll check out the sites you mention Larry. I almost had an 18 done but it blew up right at the end so I think I will end the fly tying day on the forum. I just tied a decent #14 and 16 tonight so that is progress. I might just get by with 16s around here. Proportions seem OK. I can get a very nice body with peacock, unless I lose grip right at the end. I don't use hackle pliers on delicate stuff yet as I seem to break the feather usually. Using Dr Slick tools, they seem decent. They are at least as good as me anyway The peacock seems to have sufficient body flash by itself. I am going to try it anyway. Pleased with my tails and wings. They will look good enough once they get wet IMO.

I am cutting the V in a body feather for the wings flyguy. That is WAY easier than cutting individual wings which move everytime you try to cinch them down.

William, tying a dozen of one size before I step down is probably good advice, but then I will have a couple dozen flies that are too big and run out of hooks. I have to order practically everything I need to tie.

BTW I am fishing Teds flies (from the forum) but running out. They work very well, but they are a tough act to follow. Trust me he can tie some pretty stuff in small sizes.

EDIT-I just checked out the Frank Sawyer vids and I sure didn't see any thin skin, whip finishing tool, not even so much as a peacock feather lol. I am over complicating this.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ia_trouter View Post
William, tying a dozen of one size before I step down is probably good advice, but then I will have a couple dozen flies that are too big and run out of hooks. I have to order practically everything I need to tie.
But the beauty of that is you can tie them big, which I recommend, and when you are done with practice, take a razor to them and cut it all off the hook. Yes you toss a small amount of material but the hook is saved and you have will have boosted skill. Also, don't be afraid to fish the big sizes. Some of the spring creeks here have some monster bugs with hungry fish living in them. I just tied a bunch of size 8 1xl prince nymphs for the one creek. the thing is huge, nearly and inch long!!
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

There are still some excellent nymphs around that are quite simple in design & yet, catch plenty of fish. I generally have tied most nymphs I've used in a style similar to the Hare's Ear. I like them relatively simple, generic & buggy.

Check out such patterns as Ted Trueblood tied. Otter, Muskrat, Fledermaus & Ted's Stonefly and of course the Hare's Ear in it's many variations.

I tie a generic nymph that is nothing more than dubbed rabbit fur, a short tail of marabou & a sparse, soft, grizzly hen hackle collar. I rib it with pearl Flashabou usually. I'll vary it too sometimes with a wing case over the thorax area of whatever I feel will improve it's appearance, such as peacock herl, ostrich herl or even krystal flash. That's as fancy as I'll usually get. I don't bother with cut feather wing cases or legs. Picking out the dubbing to make it more "buggy" is what I do for legs.

Add weight if you like, wire under the body or a bead head. Various shades of olive, & black are the 2 colors I've had the most success with. It's actually a Hare's Ear style variation, but I'll tie them on hooks of different lengths. Tied on a 3X long hook it works well as a Damsel nymph.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

It's amazing you go some places & The Fish will take large Flies however you go other places & The Fish only seem to like The Smaller Flies even though there are large Insects around.
It really doesn't matter if some Flies turn out a Bit Rough because good Looking ones become a little worse for wear after catching a couple of Fish.
I have one Fly which started out as A Stimulator you should see it now it's retired 11 Fish later & no doubt it would still catch Fish.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

I haven't given up on larger flies, but at this particular time of season on the creeks I am currently fishing they are just not producing any bites. Small beadhead nymphs are the pattern the last few weeks. Just how it is at the moment. My woolies even went cold now that I have a bunch of them, but they'll be back in style too.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: Tying Nymphs, how fancy do they really need to be?

Most of the nymph patterns I tie are small - #16 - #22, because those work most frequently in the Eastern Sierra tail waters that I fish. The best advise has already been given and that is, to tie at least a dozen of each pattern. On wing cases, I prefer black for May fly nymphs. The most active nymphs of May flies, just prior to emergence, have dark wing cases. If ya' don't like thin skin, scud back or stretch flex - try Zelon, Antron, flexi-floss, Krystal Flash, Swiss Straw, Holo tinsel or a bunch of other stuff that escapes me at the moment...


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