- Hook: Mustad Signature R72, #10-18
- Head: brass bead, gold
- Weight: lead wire
- Thread: Danville's Prewaxed 6/0, red
- Tail : brown goose biots
- Ribbing: fine oval gold tinsel
- Body: peacock herl
- Hackle: partridge
- Wing: amber or light orange goose biots
|The Prince Nymph is one of the most popular and effective nymph patterns for many species of fish. This variation features Hungarian partridge hackle, light orange wings, and a red "neck." The subtle substitution of bright colors can often turn the fish onto a pattern they may be used to seeing. There have been times when a standard Prince is effective for a while, then the fishing slows. At these times switching up to this more colorful pattern has turned the fish back on. It is also a good fly for off-colored water, streams/rivers and lakes/ponds.|
For this pattern, I use fine oval tinsel for the rib, which is a lot more durable than the standard flat mylar. Many of the steps below add durability to the pattern and can be applied when tying the standard Prince as well. The technique to note is the reinforcement of the wings, one of the first things to "fail" on the Prince Nymph.
|1) First, you'll need to select a proper size bead. Here I'm tying on a size 14 hook, and for these I like to use a 3/32" bead. Place the bead on the hook and secure the hook in the vise. Select an appropriate size of lead wire: .015 for #10-14, .010 for #16-18. Wrap the lead 12 times around the shank and clip. Slide the lead up the shank into the bead head so it is snug against the hook eye.|
NOTE: With a micro-barb hook such as the R72, the bead should go on with little trouble. If using another hook style and you have some difficulty getting past the barb, very lightly press the point with forceps or pliers... it is not necessary to flatten the barb completely to slip the bead on, but you can do this for a "barbless" version if you like.
|2) Start the tying thread behind the lead wire. Built up an even taper with multiple layers of thread, smoothing the transition the diameter of the lead wire. To do this, wrap one layer of thread to the bend, then back to the lead. Wrap another layer back to somewhere between the hook point and barb, then back. Do another layer back to the point, and so on until you have a nice taper. Bring the thread to the hook bend.|
|3) Pull off two goose biots from their stem. Hold them front-to-front so the tips curve away from each other. Even up the tips and measure against the hook for length- the tail should be half to one-third the shank length. Use your thumbnail to mark the spot as you hold the biots in position with your left hand. The position: the biots are held together, above the shank, each barely touching opposite sides of the hook shank. This creates something like a tent-shape. Hold the biots here leaning slightly toward you (to compensate for thread torque moving them toward the far side). Now use the pinch-loop method, taking two turns of the thread loosely around the biots, and sliding it in between the biot and your thumb or finger. Maintain your hold on the biots and pull down on the thread to tighten. Immediately take a couple more tight turns of thread in front to secure.|
|Done right, this will give you consistent results every time, with the tails both curving away from each other naturally, and the "pinch" of the tie-in wraps separating them further.|
4) Spiral the thread forward over the excess biots, lashing them to either side of the body. A wrap or two before you get to the bead head, clip the excess, then continue right up to the bead.
|5) Wrap the thread in tight touching turns back to above the hook point. Form a dubbing loop with the thread, then continue wrapping back to the bend, securing the loop to the near side of the body.|
For a diagram on forming a dubbing loop, click here.
|6) Apply cement over the lead-wire area, all the way around. Tie in a section of tinsel at least four inches long (or as long as you can easily manage) at an angle so the end lays along the near side, and the rest lies gradually more toward the top. Basically, we're tying it in to curve, so we can just continue the "natural" curve when we wind it forward later, rather that folding it to reverse its direction. This makes for a cleaner start on the ribbing, and can be a useful technique when tying-in easily broken materials like thin hackle stems and peacock herl.|
|7) Speaking of peacock herl, select three nice full ones. Pinch each one near its tip and give it a sharp tug so it breaks... it will break at its weakest point. This little trick can help prevent the herl stem breaking when wrapping the body as they often do. Really it just helps find where the stronger portion of the stem begins. Align the new tips of the herls, stroke them backwards to make the barbs stand out from the stem, then tie them all in at once. Tie these in at an angle (like we did for the tinsel) so they curve from the bottom up to the side.|
|8) Gather the tied-in herls together and place in the dubbing loop. Pull the loop tight and clasp the whole bundle (thread loop plus the herls) in a hackle pliers or alligator clip. Twist the loop to form a tightly spun rope of the herl. You'll notice the rope begins to form near the hook first, then works it way up the loop... twist until you have one turn worth, take the first turn around the bend of the hook, then continue twisting the rest of the rope. This is yet another prevention against breaking the herls. every two or three turns of the rope, give a few more twists, as it tends to untwist as you wrap it up the shank.|
|9) Continue wrapping in tight turns up the bead head. You can stroke back the fibers of peacock herl on each wrap for a slightly fuller body, but this is seldom necessary if good herl is used. Tie off at the bead with three tight turns of thread, then clip the excess.|
|8) Now for the partridge collar. Here you have a couple of options. You can find an appropriate size partridge feather and tie it in by its tip. Appropriate here meaning that the barbs range in length to extend 1/3 of the way to the hook point to about the hook bend. Carefully stroke the fibers back near the tip and tie the tip in at an angle. As you make each half turn, stroke the partridge fibers back. Two turns should be sufficient. Tie off and clip the excess.|
|OR... and this what I always do, just to maintain consistency from fly to fly... you can use a dubbing loop. Form a loop right behind the bead and insert a dubbing whirl. Align the tips of the partridge fibers on the stem by stroking the feather backward slightly. Clip and align enough fibers to make a nice collar, Gather them all in one bundle, being careful to keep the tips somewhat even. Hold the bundle against the fly to measure for length, then clip them in an art clip at the proper length so the butt ends are sticking out and the fibers are spread out evenly over a length about equal to two-thirds of the shank length. Trim the butt ends off, leaving about half a hook-eye-width sticking out of the clip. Insert this into the loop, pull the loop tight, and carefully remove the clip. Readjust the fibers as necessary by pushing on the butt ends only. You should have just a little bit of the butt ends on the side opposite the tips to help lock them in.|
|Keep the loop tight and twist the whirl until the fibers start to spin. Continue twisting the loop into a tight rope. Stroke the fibers back as you make the turns... you should get about a turn and a half. Tie of the loop and clip the excess loop thread.|
|Take a couple extra tight turns to secure and add a drop of cement. Your thread wraps should be right over each other to minimize the "neck" area of the fly. |
For more detailed instructions on the dubbing loop hackling method, look at the tying steps for the Ruff Drummer .
|9) Pull two amber or light orange goose biots from their stem. Hold these together against the fly to form a "V" with the bottom of the V at the neck, the tips at or near the bend. When the biots are held along the top of the fly, the tips of both should curve downward.|
At this point, to form the V, the biots are crossed in an X shape (the butt ends are the bottom of the X), but this will not be maintained (see below). Forming the V is simply and easy length-marking method and sets the biots up for proper positioning in the tie-in step.
|Keep a tight hold of the biots and lay them along the top of the fly with the bottom of the V at the neck area. Take two loose turns of thread then pull down to tighten. The thread torque will move the biots a little, with the far side wing sliding toward the far side. Keep the thread tight and adjust the tips of the wings so they are spread about the same distance as the width of the bead head. Take two more tight turns of thread to secure and apply a drop of cement to the thread wraps. (Notice that now the biots are no longer crossed in an X, but are slightly overlapping... the pinch of the tie-in gives them a natural flare.)|
Don't clip the excess biots yet! Read below first.
|10) Usually, on standard Prince Nymphs, the first thing to go is either the mylar tinsel ribbing or the wings, which loosen up and pull out. Here is how to secure the biot wings and keep them in place.|
Clip the butt ends, but not too close... leave a small bit of excess about the width of the "neck" area (thread wraps). Hold the wings to prevent any movement, and use the point of a bodkin to raise them a little.
|Double-check the position of the wings. They should look something like this from above. Once they are secured, they can no longer be adjusted, so it's important to do this now.|
|Hold the wings in place again, and use your finger to fold the excess butt ends back over the thread wraps. Keep your fingernail there, holding the butt ends in place, and take a couple tight turns of thread to tie them down.|
|Now the biots are locked into place. Trim any excess close and cover with two or three turns of the tying thread.|
Click here for a closeup of the folded-back ends.
|11) Now all that's left is to whip-finish and clip the thread. Coat the thread wraps with cement.|
|Here's a top view of the finished fly.|