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Al's 4-Bead Head Nymph
Fly and Photos by Richard Taylor

This pattern is an adaptation from Al Campbell's Too Simple Fly series, and named in his honor.

I sent about half a dozen nymphs that I tied to my buddy in New England (Vermont) and told him to try them, maybe as a dropper, next time he visited his "hidie-hole" brook trout pond. Received the following quoted e-mail from him a couple of days later.

"Winter is passing rapidly, been real easy so far, went fishing with my brother yesterday over on Lake George. [in NY state] Weather couldn't have been better, 58 degrees on the ice no wind. Used the beautiful flies you sent me, they worked great on perch also. Toward noon the fish stopped biting so I decided to move out to deeper water, cut a hole and started catching real nice perch, all of a sudden I hooked on to a very large something, played tug of war for about 3 minutes, up close to the hole 6 different times, finally he decided he had enough of the tugging and he was going to give all he had, needless to say he broke the line right where I had tied the dropper fly. I would have liked to have seen him. . . We think it was a big lake trout. I have never had that happen before while ice fishing. Was a really fun day, kept 50 real nice perch, in fact I'm going to cook some for supper."

Was excited to find out that it catches perch too as it was tied as a trout fly. Maybe the Warm Water forum folks can give it a try too. Can bass, bream, etc. be far behind? Hope so...

Materials Al's 4-Bead Head Nymph:

    Hook: Size 12-nymph, barbless if desired.

    Thread: Black 3/0.

    Beads: Glass, Bronze, 30gms.,"Create.A.Craft" "Rocailles" from the Wal-Mart Arts and Crafts section.

    Dubbing: "Orvis Angora-Goat" & "Umpqua-Dave Whitlock's Dubbing Blend Helgramite"

    Prepare dubbing by scissor cutting the long Angora Goat hair into about half it's normal length then mix an equal part of it and the "Helgramite" dubbing. I use a small bowl for this.

Tying Instructions: Al's 4-Bead Head Nymph

    1. Thread four beads onto the hook.

    2. Start thread at hook eye and create a small ball to position first bead a small distance from hook eye. Make one thread turn over the bead towards the hook gap and create another thread ball to create space between the beads.

    3. Do the same for the two remaining beads ending about level with the middle of the hook gap with the thread behind the last bead.

    3. Spin the dubbing mix onto the thread and wrap about three turns behind the last bead. Continue forward filling the spaces between each bead, three or more turns depending on the thickness of your material and/or the depth of the spaces between the beads.

    4. Make last two or three turns in front of the first bead and just behind the hook eye. Finish the head with about six turns of the thread and tie off.

    5. I usually pick out the dubbing for a fuzzier looking "bug" and sometimes trim it a little.


I am starting to use one different colored bead at the hook gap to see if it makes any difference. I've used red, green,and clear and will have to fish them for effectivness.

Tied one with pink beads and one clear one at the tail. Yet to fish the latest ones. ~ Richard Taylor

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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