Stonefly Nymph

As the previous sequence shows, a simple latex dressing can successfully imitate segmented fly bodies. Some modern flytyers (notably Poul Jorgensen) have exploited the properties of latex in much more complicated dressings, producing wonderfully lifelike artificial nymphs and flies. The effects can be stunning.

The following sequence of photographs shows how to tie a simplified Perla Stonefly Nymph; this is one of the dressings featured in Poul's excellent book Modern Fly Dressings for the Practical Angler. In addition to natural-color latex, this dressing requires some special materials: lead wire, amber-dyed brown rabbit fur, brown and orange waterproof markers, and a cupful of water on the bench. It also requires some flytying experience and plenty of time!

Note: For clarity, the colors in the following photographs are a little brighter than those Poul recommends.

• Prepare the hook shank by winding close, firm turns of yellow tying thread to the tail position. (S)

Note: The hook illustrated is a size 4 long-shank Mustad 9672. Poul Jorgensen uses sizes 4 to 10, 3x long Mustad 38941.

  • Cut two body-length pieces of lead wire, of about the same thickness as the hook.
  • Tie in one piece of wire on the far side of the shank so that the end of the wire is just short of the hook eye. Then bind the whole length of the wire to the shank with close turns of thread.
Mustad 38941
1
  • Bind in the second length of lead wire along the near side of the shank, working toward the tail (S)
  • If necessary, use needlenose pliers to straighten the lengths of lead after binding in.
  • Using an orange waterproof marker, color a few of the shortest, curved, stiffest fibers that are found at the base (on the outside) of a white swan primary feather.
  • When the coloring is dry, pull off two fibers and tie them on at the tail, so that one curves toward you and one curves away.
  • Touch up the coloring if necessary.
  • Mark out a strip six inches (150 mm) long and 3/32 inches (2 mm) wide on a sheet of natural-color latex.
  • Cut out the latex strip accurately, without damaging the edges.
  • Taper one end of the strip (as described earlier in this chapter for flat tinsel).
  • Tie in the tapered end of the strip on top of the hook shank, then wind the tying thread to the eye. (S)
  • Using the dubbing needle, coat the prepared shank with glue.
  • Ensure that the tapered edge of the strip is nearest the eye. Then wind on toward the eye, keeping a little tension on the latex and half-overlapping each turn.
  • Continue until just over half the shank is covered. This completes the segmented part of the nymph body.
  • Wind the remaining latex strip in tight turns (applying more tension) to the eye, and secure it with the tying thread. (S)
  • Cut off the surplus latex, then take wide turns of thread down the body to the segmented section. (S)
  • Color the segmented part of the body with an orange waterproof marker, working from right to left.
  • Allow the coloring to dry.
  • Draw a line with a brown waterproof marker along the nymph's segmented back, to imitate its dark markings. This time, work from left to right.
  • Allow the coloring to dry.
  • Form a loop of tying thread three inches (75 mm) long at the end of the segmented section.
  • Leave the loop hanging, and wind the thread to the eye. (S)

This step is not impossible!

  • Cut off a small amount of orange-dyed rabbit fur. Keep the long guard hairs together.
  • From the cut bunch of fur, pull out as much of the underfur as possible.
  • Open the loop and place the fur in the middle. Attach hackle pliers to the end of the loop and allow the loop to hang.
  • Using both hands, gently spread the fur until it is arranged evenly along the loop.
  • Push the fur gently until about two-thirds of the length of the hairs is on the left of the loop, and one-third to the right.
Wonderwing Step Step
  • If the spread fur does not occupy the whole length of the loop, carefully move the hackle pliers up until they grip just below the base of the fur.
  • Twist the loop until the fur is well entwined.
  • Holding the hackle pliers in one hand to keep the loop taut, dip the fingers and thumb of your other hand in water and thoroughly moisten the fur.
  • Taking great care not to remove the fur from the loop, gently pull all the fur back toward the tail, as if preparing a wet-fly hackle.
  • Wind on the fur and loop like a wet-fly hackle, gently pulling the fur toward the tail on each turn.
  • Unwind the tying thread as far as necessary and tie off the end of the loop. (S)
  • Trim off the excess fur on top of the body, so that the latex wing cases (to be added next) can lie flat.
  • For the wing cases, trim two pieces of natural-color latex to the shape shown (use straight scissors for the sides and "vee," and curved scissors for the shaped ends). As a rough guide to size, the cut-out "vee" should be about the same width as the body.
  • Color the latex wing cases with orange waterproof marker, and allow to dry.
  • Color the outer edges of the wing cases with brown waterproof marker (see photograph), and allow to dry.
  • Tie on the first wing case, at the position shown, with two or three turns of tying thread. (S)

Note: Poul Jorgensen colors the wing cases after tying them onto the body, but I find it easier to color them beforehand. I suggest trying both methods to find which one suits you best. In both cases, the coating of color on the wing cases helps them to curve naturally over the body. (S) = now secure thread in rubber button or leave bobbin hanging 73

  • Form another three-inch (75 mm) loop of tying thread where the first wing case was tied in. Leave the loop hanging and wind the thread to the eye. (S)
  • Prepare, spin, and wind on another bunch of fur, as described in steps 8 to 12. Tie off the loop with tying thread. (S)

Trim off the excess fur on top of the body, as before.

  • Tie on the second wing case. (S)
  • Trim off the surplus latex forward of the tying-in turns.
  • Select two more orange-tinted fibers from the swan feather (to form the antennae).
  • Tie the first antenna (curving away from you) on top of the head. (S)
  • The antennae should be a little shorter than the tail fibers.)
  • Tie on the second antenna, curving toward you. (S) Adjust both antennae and cut off the surplus.
  • Take as many turns of tying thread as necessary to form a neat, shaped head, then finish off with a wrap knot (tied underneath the antennae). Lacquer only the knot.
The Knot Head Stonefly Pattern
  • Using the orange waterproof marker, color the whole head then allow it to dry.
  • Using the brown waterproof marker, draw a line along the top of the head from the front of the right-hand wing case, between the antennae, to the hook eye.
  • Recolor any body marking, if necessary.
  • You have now finished. Call in the family to show them how clever you are, then frame it!
  • Using the orange waterproof marker, color the whole head then allow it to dry.
  • Using the brown waterproof marker, draw a line along the top of the head from the front of the right-hand wing case, between the antennae, to the hook eye.
  • Recolor any body marking, if necessary.
  • You have now finished. Call in the family to show them how clever you are, then frame it!
  • Top view of the simplified Perla Stonefly Creeper, showing the proportions of the wing cases.

Painted Bodies

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Responses

  • william
    How to tie a stonefly nymph?
    8 years ago
  • robert
    How to tie wired stonefly?
    8 years ago
  • Yusef
    How to tie a perla stonefly nympth?
    8 years ago
  • Pansy
    How to tie a long bodied nymph?
    5 years ago

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