BiColour Nymph

Several years ago I spent some time fishing the Yorkshire Calder. Dry and wet fly were both productive methods, but I couldn’t really get nymphs to work. Turning a few stones showed me that the nymphs have the brightest yellow ventral sides I had ever seen. Could this be the problem?

I tied up some woven nymphs to imitate this colour difference. They certainly worked better. They are a bit of a pain to tie though. So the hunt was on for a way of tying up a nymph that had a dark dorsal side and bright yellow ventral side. This tying method was the solution.

The tying technique here may be new to you, though some actions are a little awkward at first there is nothing difficult. Stick with it and you’ll soon have them falling from your vice in no time.

This example is tied weighted, you don’t have to weight yours. I have so that I can pass on a couple of tips about using self adhesive lead foil.

Put your hook in the vice, here I’m using a size 10 long shank. More for clarity than any other reason.

Cut a long strip off your sheet of lead foil, cutting it length wise reduces the waste.

Make a few turns over the thorax area. This is the “short run”. When putting multiple runs of lead foil on a hook always start with the shortest run, and get longer. It will save you time and expense.

Holding the ends of the foil at the same angle you are winding it cut through the strip at 90 degrees to the hook shank. The resultant pointed tag (seen below the hook shank) will form a square end to the lead when wound.

Make the longer run of lead over, finishing the ends in the same way. See how the lead smoothes itself out this way. If you placed the short run over the longer you would have to do this with thread.

Start the thread, and build ramps at either end of the lead.

This part is where you will have to take more care than perhaps you usually do. If you get this wrong you will spoil the fly now, but not know it until the last step.

Take a good bunch of pheasant tail fibres, and measure them against the hook shank. (To make photographing them easier I have held them in place with a turn of thread) The tips should extend forward of the eye by the length you want the tail of the finished fly.

Grip the but ends of the pheasant tail fibres with your thumb nail level with the start of the bend. Move them forward until your thumb nail is behind the eye.

Lash the pheasant tail fibres down to the top of the thorax in the position you have just established. Trim off the buts at an angle so that you get a smooth transition from abdomen to thorax.

Take a partridge hackle and strip off the fluffy fibres at the base. Stroke the fibres back, exposing the tip, You need the fibres from a length of stem equal to the length of the thorax. Any fibres beyond this should be removed.

Tie in the partridge feather by its tip, flat on top of the thorax, so it curves up.


Run the thread back to the start of the bend. Tie in the ribbing wire, and a bunch of dyed yellow pheasant tail fibres.

Wind the pheasant tail fibres forward to form the abdomen. Tie down and trim off the excess.

Advance the thread to the eye and dub the thorax back to the abdomen.

Bring the partridge feather back over the thorax, and tie down.

Apply a tiny amount of dubbing to the thread and whip finish using the dubbed thread. This hides the tie in point of the legs. If you feel the need to apply head cement to this whip finish do it by drawing the whip finish tight around your bodkin. Apply a drop of cement to the bodkin. Pull on your bobbin holder to tension the thread. Draw the bodkin out. You will hit the whip finish spot on every time this way. More importantly you will not gum up everything else around there.

Trim out the thread.

Trim off the excess feather stem.

Fold the pheasant tail fibres over the top of the fly. Secure the back with the ribbing wire. When you reach the point where abdomen and thorax meet make a couple of half hitches to secure the wire. Worry (twist) of the excess. If you like a tiny drop of CA glue on the wire will make the half hitches more secure.

This is where you will discover if you have measured correctly above.

This pattern can be varied in many ways, Above I have included a bead in the thorax. You can tie them without any weight at all. Its really a style or technique more than a pattern. Vary it to suit your needs.

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