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Fly Tying Terms

Beadhead Nymph 17
Text and photos by Alan Bithell, UK

Here's my contribution to tying with beads. I like to split the colour of the fly body between the top and bottom of the body to give dorsal and ventral sides like the natural. On my rivers the nymphs tend to be a medium dark olive on the back and quite a bright yellow beneath. On this fly I have achieved this by tying in two biots down the back which also form the tails. The biots are lighter than the dubbed body and tied down the back because the bead head will cause the fly to fish upside down.

Materials: Beadhead Nymph 17

    Hook: Partridge Roman Moser Barbless nymph #14.

    Thread: Tan (Here I have used orange for visibility).

    Bead: Silver, gold, or copper bead 1/8".

    Body: Rabbit fur dyed golden olive.

    Back & Tail: Two Goose Biots (Tan).

    Thorax: Any spiky dubbing here I have used hairs ear with black holographic Enhancer.

Tying Instructions: Beadhead Nymph 17

    1. To secure the bead start the thread (I've used orange for clarity) and lay down a bed of tying thread which is flat and even, equal in length to the diameter of the bead you are going to use.

    2. Take a length of floss and fold it over once or twice. If you like use several thicknesses of tying thread or feather fibre like pheasant tail. Tie this in on top of the bed of tying thread with the majority of the material facing forward over the eye.

    3. Trim out the rear facing portion of the material and whip finish, trim out the thread. You must do this carefully so as to create an even bed for the bead.

    4. Slide the bead onto the prepared base.

    5. Re-start the thread behind the bead.

    6. Bring the material from in front of the bead over the bead and tie it down behind the bead.

    7. Trim out the excess of this material. Make this tapered so that you will not get a step when you tie the body.

    8. Take the thread down to the bend of the hook tying in the bead cover material as you go. Catch in the ribbing wire.

    9. Dub a nicely tapered body in a colour to match the natural. Leave a good clear section of shank clear behind the bead.

    10. Tie in two biots, colour to match the naturals' ventral side. Tie them down side by side on the pop of the hook shank.

    11. Hold the biots down at the bend of the fly and secure in place using the ribbing wire. Tie off the ribbing wire at the end of the dubbed body. (If you wish to add legs in the form of a hackle now is the time to do it.)

    12. Trim out the butt ends of the biots. Whip finish in front of the body.

    13. Make several if you are unsure of their security.

    14. Make another dubbing noodle with enough dubbing to fill the space between the end of the body and the bead.

    15. Now form one more whip finish using this dubbed length of thread.

    16. Make sure the open area is filled and trim out the thread.

    Finished Fly.

~ Alan Bithell

About Alan Bithell:

One time pro tier now working as a magician and demonstrating fly tying at shows and Fly Dressers Guild branches.

I fish the rivers of northern England for Brown trout, Sea trout and Salmon. With Wild brown trout fishing forming over 95% of my fishing. The local patterns on these rivers are the now famous North Country Spiders. I love to tie and fish these flies.

Alan Bithell

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

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