I fish nymphs almost exclusively. My favorites are bead head patterns because they are good attractors and fish getters.
Fly patterns such as the
- bead head prince
- bead head flash back gold ribbed hares ear
- diamond bead head — RS2developed by Pat Dorseyof blue quill anger in Evergreen, CO
- perl bead head — Greg’s Emergeroriginally developed by Bill Louthan, owner of alpineanglercolorado.com. Bill gave the pattern to Greg Cunningham who worked for Brookside Flies at one time. Brookside Flies is owned by Jerry Schreiber.
- root beer bead head gold ribbed pheasant tail
- regular root beer bead head pheasant tail
- black bead head — black microtube body stone fly
Of these bead heads, numbers 1 and 2 are my favorites with Greg’s emerger running a close third. Since I fish on the bottom or very close to it, I sometimes loose a lot of flies in a day. (Most was a dozen in a day)
Non-bead heads I prefer are
- RS2 in gray, olive or brown
- Gray silver ribbed RS2
- Gray RS2 emerger tied with a bit of Antron yard as a wing
- Regular gold ribbed thread head pheasant tail
- Light olive gold ribbed type RS2. (This may be a PMD emerger)
After a lot of years tying flies, I have tried to simplify my patterns. For example I don’t cement the final thread finish behind a bead head. I also don’t cement heads on thread heads anymore unless I want a glossy look.
You are not tying flies to hand down to your grand children. Chances are you will loose them in a fish or a rock or on bottom moss before the season is over. Make your fly tying as simple as possible to increase your tying speed.
Tip — Organize your hooks for tying by using a magnet strip. I use a strip of refrigerator gasket magnet to hold my hooks. Next time you get one of those 4 X 4 inch magnetic advertising patches, don’t throw it away. Glue it with the plain side up on a 4X4 piece of hard styrofoam. There is your handy hook holder. Before and after the fly is tied.
Tip — Use your forceps to hold beads while putting them on the hook. I use a long nosed set of tweezers with enough grip to hold beads. Either one makes putting beads on hooks easier. Prepare a dozen hooks at a time. This step can be done while watching tv.
Tip — When finishing off the head, you only need 3 or 4 wraps of your whip finisher to do the job. Only using 3 or 4 wraps will produce a much neater regular head and is all that is needed. This number of wraps on a bead head is also sufficient.
Tip — This was given to me by an older angler I met on the San Juan river on a labor day trip. He said to rib my flies with wire instead of other ribbing material. It was more durable, reflected more light and attracted fish better. I switched over to ribbing only with wire. Some years of fishing with wire ribbed nymphs has convinced me they work better than other ribbing or non-ribbed styles. If you have not tried wire ribbing, give it a try.
Tip — On small nymphs like the RS2, use a thread body the color you want. Match it to the color of fur dubbing for the thorax. Rib the body with either gold or silver wire before tying the thorax. A small neat head completes the fly. (I recommend silver with gray and gold with olive or brown bodies.) With practice, and your material laid out, a dozen of these can be completed in an hour.
Tight Lines and Great Fishing to you.
Marshall Estes, editor
fly-fishing-colorado.com has been a fly tying
and fly fishing enthusiast over 44 years.
copyright 2004 Marshall Estes
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