Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Flies of 2013: Jig Nymphs

Jig Nymphs
Jig Nymphs
With the 2014 trout season here in  the Yorkshire Dales almost upon us, it's time to bring this little series of posts to a close. I hope you've enjoyed them and that some of the patterns have inspired you to tie and try them. They are all superb performers that you can fish with confidence, none more so that this last pattern...

About 2 to 3 years ago I felt there was room in the range of river nymphs I carry for something a little more dense. All my nymphs were relatively lightweight and there were times when I felt I could do with more ballast to get down in strong flows and/or deep water. I carry heavy enough Czech Nymphs and nymphs for fishing in the fixed Czech style, but I felt I needed a heavy nymph more suited to upstream nymphing and French style nymphing. My choice at the time was Baetis Nymphs, Gold Head (brass) Pheasant Tail Nymphs, small Mary Copperheads and a few miscellaneous small tungsten bead flies. The Mary Copperhead was my first choice for faster flows and deeper water with it being quite dense, but if I needed more weight I would have to use a Czech Nymph or my Copperhead Nymph and so I felt I needed to bridge the gap...

...My fishing friends were using heavier nymphs that were suitable, except they were too brightly coloured and 'in your face' for my liking. What I wanted was something that was a little more sober and imitative, while still carrying plenty of weight and density. It is simply a question of taste, or style, and although I carry a few gaudy nymphs for when conditions dictate, I prefer more natural looking flies for the bulk of my fishing.
Rusty Brown Jig Nymph
Rusty Brown Jig Nymph

My flytying had suffered from time constrains and I had lost touch slightly with some of the more recent developments in flytying materials. One area of advancement where I had been slow to catch on was hooks. Looking through catalogues and browsing the better known flytying websites revealed a staggering range of hook manufacturers (many I'd not even heard of) and hook styles. At the time I had never tied on a jig hook, but they were apparently all the rage and the current in-thing in flyfishing, so it was time I joined the party. I ordered a selection of jig hooks from a variety of manufacturers and quickly settled on a favourite. Slipping on a black tungsten bead I was immediately impressed with the look they gave.
Olive Jig Nymph
Olive Jig Nymph

Choice of tail was easy: Coq de Leon - there's not much else in use these days for dries or nymphs when a tail is required and for good reason too, it's perfect! I had in mind how I wanted the body to look (smooth, semi translucent and tapered) but didn't know how to achieve it. Looking around internet forums, blogs, magazines, flytying shops, etc. I came across Hends Body Quills. It looked good and just what I was looking for so I ordered a selection. Finally the thorax, and again I knew what I wanted: natural dubbing with a hint of sparkle and there was plenty of choice, either ready blended, or, natural dubbing that I could blend with some form of sparkle dubbing.

And that was it, my new nymphs began to take shape in 3 different colours: olive, brown and rusty brown. Now it was time to test them and results were immediate, taking trout and grayling everywhere I fished. They were particularly effective on chalkstream grayling during my annual trip south. This first batch threw up one problem though: they weren't durable enough and the Hends Body Quills would come undone, often after just one fish.
Brown Jig Nymph
Brown Jig Nymph

The simple answer would have been to rib them, but I didn't want a rib, I wanted a clean, smooth and uncluttered look. Enter another new development in flytying - Bug-Bond. It sounded perfect and as it happens it did the trick perfectly, if not very cheaply! Now, treated with Bug-Bond, my Jig Nymphs are as durable as they need to be and they work superbly. I tie them from size 10's to 16's and they are now in the third year of use. They take fish everywhere and continue to do well for chalkstream grayling. I fish them traditionally upstream or on a French Leader and I can't praise them highly enough. I am hoping to add them to the range of flies I sell on my Fly Shop later in the year but until then here are the dressings...

Olive Jig Nymph
Hook: Dohiku J size 10, 12, 14, 16
Bead: Black Tungsten (size 10 = 3.3mm; size 12 = 2.8mm; size 14 = 2.4mm; size 16 = 2.0mm)
Thread: 8/0 Unithread white
Tails: Coq de Leon dyed olive
Underbody: Thread
Overbody: Hends Body Quills BQ35 (2 layers) coated with Bug Bond
Thorax: Wapsi Natural Fur – Fox Squirrel (220) mixed with Ice Dub Olive approx 60:40

Brown Jig Nymph
Hook: Dohiku J size 10, 12, 14, 16
Bead: Black Tungsten (size 10 = 3.3mm; size 12 = 2.8mm; size 14 = 2.4mm; size 16 = 2.0mm)
Thread: 8/0 Unithread white
Tails: Coq de Leon dyed brown
Underbody: Thread
Overbody: Hends Body Quills BQ10 (2 layers) coated with Bug Bond
Thorax: Dave Whitlock SLF Pattern Blends shade 01 (Red Fox Squirrel Nymph Thorax) 


Rusty Brown Jig Nymph
Hook: Dohiku J size 10, 12, 14, 16
Bead: Black Tungsten (size 10 = 3.3mm; size 12 = 2.8mm; size 14 = 2.4mm; size 16 = 2.0mm)
Thread: 8/0 Unithread white
Tails: Coq de Leon dyed brown
Underbody: Thread
Overbody: Hends Body Quills BQ33 (2 layers) coated with Bug Bond
Thorax: Dave Whitlock SLF Pattern Blends shade 01 (Red Fox Squirrel Nymph Thorax)

Grayling on a Rusty Brown
Jig Nymph
Links

Joel at Tungsten Beads Plus sells a good selection of modern flytying materials including Hends Body Quills and a great range of modern hooks

Sandra at Anglers Lodge is always very helpful and offers a prompt service. Particularly good on Bug-Bond products.

Pat Stevens at Flytek offers a reliable service and is a good source for your tungsten beads.