Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

Fishing and Outdoors

NZ's independent voice of fishing, hunting & outdoors

Fly tying tips: how to tie the copper nymph

5 min read

In his recently published book, Flyting for Beginners, writer Barry Ord Clarke takes readers through a guide on 12 popular international fly patterns. Each technique and pattern includes guidance and instructions on all tools, materials, and techniques used; step-by-step images; explanatory text; and a QR code that links a video tutorial on the writer’s YouTube channel. The book also includes Barry’s recommendations for a beginner’s fly tying kit and materials and lots of useful advice and tips – perfect for those new to the art of tying flies. Below is an extract.

Two of the best-selling fly patterns in the world are the Copper John and the Brassie. Then came the Copper Nymph, in so many variants that it would take a whole book to cover them.

What all three patterns have in common is a copper wire abdomen. This is my take on the Copper Nymph.

The copper wire abdomen adds extra weight to the pattern. It also adds some extra bling, and when it comes to river trout, they just love bling!

For this pattern, I have taken the best materials for trout flies: pheasant tail, wood duck and peacock herl, along with the relatively new flat copper wire. All wrapped up in the style of a generic mayfly nymph which can be fished any way and anywhere.

When designing a fly, I always try to push all the trout’s buttons. I study the most prominent features of the natural i.e. tails, legs, head – and exaggerate them. I believe that this way, when the fly is drifting swiftly towards a feeding trout in pocket water, it’s easily recognisable as food, and if you add a little extra bling as well, this may also attract the trout’s attention. If you don’t have wood duck for the tail, you can also use mallard flank, or any other speckled hackle for that matter. All flytyers accumulate more and more material as different patterns are tied over the years. You will, with time, come to understand which materials can be used for what, and what are their best substitutes. The collecting and understanding of the materials we work with are all part of the pleasure of the craft, and something that you can look forward to.

What you’ll learn

  • Copper wire wrapped abdomen
  • Overbody of pheasant tail
  • Reverse pheasant tail legs

Tying tips

  • Wrap your copper wire hand-over-hand so you don’t twist it
  • Choose a pheasant tail feather with long fibres
  • Let the head varnish dry a little in-between coats
  • You can use a round, heavy-gauge copper wire if you don’t have flat

The dressing

  • Hook: Long shank nymph size 8–12
  • Thread: Black
  • Tail: Wood duck or mallard flank
  • Rib: UTC Ultra Wire (black)
  • Abdomen: Flat or round copper wire & pheasant tail
  • Thorax: Peacock herl
  • Wing case: Pheasant tail fibres
  • Legs: Pheasant tail
  • Head: Black thread

We’re giving away one copy of Flyting for Beginners. Enter here.

The book is stocked by Nationwide Book distributors NZ and available to buy or order from local bookshops and online.

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