Advanced Fly Tying:
Tiger Weave Bitch Creek Nymph
By Al Campbell
Woven bodies create a look that is unmatched in other forms of tying.
If you can weave a fly body, you can create another dimension in your
fly that simple tying steps can't create. This added dimension results in
a fly that looks more realistic to the fish.
Since the size of the fly is important if you are going to see detailed pictures
of the steps, I'll be picking on larger insects in this series, but these tying steps
can be used to create much smaller flies as well. A woven midge larva isn't
out of the question once you learn how to weave a certain style of weave.
My focus here is to show you how to perform the weave, not merely a pattern.
It will be up to you to put on the thinking cap and use these new skills in other
patterns as you see fit. The only limiting factor here is your imagination and
willingness to experiment a little.
Although I have chosen materials that are easy to see in a photo, color and size
of the materials you select should be based on what you are trying to imitate.
If you're trying to imitate a damselfly nymph, shades of olive, yellow and brown
will work well. Stoneflies are generally some combination of black and orange
or yellow and brown, but investigation in your local waters with a nymph net
might reveal a tendency toward tan and olive or black and yellow. Ultra chenille,
punch embroidery yarn, wool yarn, poly yarn and antron are just the tip of the
pile of materials you can use to create realistic, woven bodies. Use your
imagination and the materials you have easy access to.
Weaving isn't as hard as it looks. It just takes a little practice to get good at it,
but the fish won't be too picky if your fly doesn't look fit for a frame at first.
What do you have to lose; time or a few materials? The skills you gain will
more than offset your monetary investment and the time will be well spent
learning new ways to create something a fish will eat. After all, isn't that
why you're here in the first place?
Let's get started.
List of materials: Tiger Weave Bitch Creek Nymph
Hook: Nymph, Mustad 80050BR; Tiemco 200R; or equivalent.
Thread: 6/0 or 3/0, color as desired for effect, traditional is black.
Tail: Rubber leg strands, any color will work. I'm using orange here.
Body: Woven strands of orange and black Ultra Chenille (vernille).
Again, any color or texture of material can be used to create the body
Thorax: Black Ultra Chenille.
Legs: Dun or black hackle wrapped around the thorax.
Antennae: Rubber leg material, same as tail.
1. Start the thread on the hook. Tie in a loop of rubber
leg material by the tips of the loop. Keep it spread apart as you
tie it down to the hook shank. Tie all the way to the bend.
2. Clip the loop with your scissors to form a split tail.
3. Tie the light colored body material to the far side of
4. Tie the body material down all the way to the tail.
5. Next, tie the darker body material down to the near
side of the hook.
6. Again, all the way to the tail. I usually make several
half hitches in the thread here so I can leave the thread dangling at
the hook bend as I weave. If that isn't comfortable to you, you
can half hitch the thread and cut it off, but you will have to start it
later when your hands are full.
7. With your right hand, wrap the light colored material
over the top of the hook as shown. Stop with the material where
you see it here.
8. With your left hand, wrap the dark material over the
light material on the top of the hook, then under the hook and
stopping on the near side of the hook as shown. Don't take your
hands off either material during this weaving process.
9. Now, wrap the light material over the dark material
on the bottom of the hook as shown.
10. Then continue over the top of the hook with the
11. Next, wrap the dark material over the light material
on top of the hook.
12. And, under the hook like you did before.
13. Repeat this process, (dark over light on top of the
hook, and light over dark on the bottom of the hook), until you have
the body length you want (about half the hook shank in length).
14. Holding both body materials in your left hand to keep
tension on them, bring the thread forward over the hook in front of
the body materials. (If you cut the thread, you will have to start it
over here while keeping tension on the body materials).
15. Now, switch hands with the body materials and tie
them down with the thread.
16. Inspect the body. Is the light material on the
bottom and the dark material on the top?
17. Clip the light material, but leave the dark material
attached to the hook.
18. Make sure everything is tied down securely. A
couple of half hitches here wouldn't hurt.
19. Tie in a long, soft hackle, curvature down.
20. Wrap the dark body material forward to create a dark
21. Tie off the body material and trim, leaving plenty of
room for a head.
22. Wrap the hackle forward, spacing it as evenly as possible.
23. Tie off the hackle at the head and trim.
24. Tie in a strand of rubber leg material behind the hook
25. Bring the other side of the rubber strand forward
and tie it down to form a split antenna.
26. Create a nice head that covers all of the rubber leg material.
27. Whip-finish and trim the thread. Trim the antennae to length.
28. From the top, your finished fly should look like this.
29. From the bottom, it should look like this. You can
trim the thread you see on the bottom of the body if you want, but
the fish won't complain if you don't.
You can modify this process by using different materials to create
nymphs of other species. Just be sure to practice the weave until
you're happy with the results.
You've worked hard to learn the skills you have, now it's time to use
them creatively. You might be surprised by the results you can obtain
from a little creative experimentation.
See ya next month - Remember, I'm always happy to answer
your questions, feel free to
email me. ~ Al Campbell
ADVANCED Fly Tying Archives
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