Al Campbell, Field Editor

April 5th, 2004

Too Simple Baetis Nymph

Al Campbell

After my first "too simple" nymph, I didn't plan to show this one. However, after I wrote the ten points article of last week, I had more than two dozen requests for the tying directions for my too simple baetis nymph. I'm all about technique and don't feel exact patterns are all that important, but I see that many want or at least think they need the exact pattern, so here it is.

Before I show you the steps though, I want to add that this is one of my favorite patterns for the Bighorn River in Montana when a baetis hatch is happening. I have had some real productive days on that river and elsewhere due to this very simple nymph. In fact, I believe I could imitate almost any nymph that was the same size and close to the same color as this nymph, and do quite well fishing it. Suggestion is often more attractive than an exact reproduction.

Please, don't get caught up in the idea that you must do everything exactly like I do. I tie these simple patterns for several reasons, and none of those reasons has anything to do with the idea that this fly has to be tied the same way each time. If I suddenly discovered that I didn't have punch embroidery yarn with me, I would simply tie the same thing with dubbing or something similar. The main point behind all of these patterns is simplicity and speed in tying. That should be your goal more than following my exact pattern.

Enough of that. Let's tie another fly that is so simple I almost feel guilty when I tie and fish it. Note that I said "almost." Actually, I feel no guilt when I discover another way to make life more simple. That includes my tying and fishing too.

Too Simple Baetis Nymph Materials:

  • Hook - Any standard nymph hook, even cheap ones will do. I'm using a size 18 Mustad 3399A hook.

  • Tail - none.

  • Body - Dark brown punch embroidery yarn.

  • Legs - Dark brown punch embroidery yarn, (tag from the body yarn).

  • Thread - 6/0 dark brown or black Danville.

    Tying steps:

      1. Start the thread and build a head for your fly right away.

      2. Tie on some punch embroidery yarn (as shown).

      3. Whip finish the thread and trim. You won't need the thread again for this fly.

      4. Wrap the yarn forward to just past the halfway point.

      5. Use your whip finisher to make the last three or four wraps of yarn.

      6. After you whip finish the last few wraps of yarn; cinch the yarn tight (as shown).

      7. Slide the yarn tag to the bottom of the fly and trim to resemble legs (sort of). Cement the head and last two yarn wraps for a durable fly.

    Does your fly look like mine? Do you think you could use the same steps to create a fly that matches an insect hatching near you? What size and color would you use? It's your chance to "match the hatch" with a simple creation of your own. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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