The Prince Nymph is one of those flies that just works! Some say it is a stonefly nymph, others say it is an attractor, but I think that it is both. The dark body looks a lot like a stonefly and it also works very well on freestone rivers, where stoneflies are common. The prince nymph is by no means easy to tie. It does take a fair bit of practice to master it and I must admit, I am still practicing! The Prince Nymph can be tied is size #08-18. My personal favorite is a #16. You can add a gold bead if you like as well. The Prince Nymph was invented many years ago, well before my time. It continues to be a favorite among fly fisherman to this day.
The Bloom Caddis is a very deadly caddis pattern developed by Dave Bloom on the Missouri River. It is one of those patterns often overlooked by most people. While everyone else is using Elk Hair Caddis and Stimulators, the Bloom Caddis will often catch fish when others fail. The naturally mottled body and “spikey” dubbed thorax is the key to the flies success. Caddis often have mottled bodies and wings, and this is what the Bloom Caddis imitates. A great pattern to have in your caddis box, and easy to see too!!
The Stalcup’s Baetis is a great small mayfly nymph developed by Shane Stalcup. It combines life like profile and perfect buggy colors to make up one amazing fly. The Stalcup’s Baetis isn’t too hard to tie. A intermediate tier can tackle this pattern and master it with relative ease. Keep this fly sparse and do not add to much material or bulk. The fly was designed to be slender, that is why it works so good!!!
If you’re anything like me, walking into the local fly shop and throwing down $3.00 for a fly is just painful. I remember purchasing a big hopper in Eastern Idaho for a specific stretch of water. Given the cost, I “wisely” opted to buy only one. Three casts later, a large brown took it off the surface as soon as the bug hit. After what seemed like a few seconds he broke me off, and my hopper was never seen again, at least, not by me. It is experiences like this that have led me to tie my own flies, as well as times I’ve fished waters with zero luck, only to notice the hatches and make mental notes. After some time at the vise and a little creativity, I’ve come back with my own fly and left with success. But, if your Grandpa didn’t teach you to tie and you’re new to the sport, where should you start? Below are a few of the essential tools of the fly tying trade. All recommendations are items that I personally own and tie flies with.
The EP Crab is one of the best crab imitations for Permit, Bonefish and Redfish. It is the updated version to the classic Merkin’s Crab. The EP Crab uses the durable EP Fibers for the body and has more life like legs & tail. It can be tied in so many variations, colors and sizes. Most of the EP Crabs have the color Tan incorporated into them, but other colors can be used to tie Blue Crab and Sand Crab imitations. In this video, we will tie the EP with a Crustaceous Brush. This is a fast and efficient way to tie EP Crabs, and is a must have in the salt, so get to work!
The Mega Prince is a great fly developed by Dan Delekta. It’s the perfect high water fly and imitates a buggy stonefly nymph. The Mega Prince is best fished as the lead fly on a nymph rig. This fly has a lot of movement to it. The rubber legs and marabou tail allow for the fly to pulse and move in the water. A great western stonefly nymph imitation and a must have when you visit the west!!
The Copper John is the most commonly used trout fly in the west these days. For a good reason, it’s a great attractor pattern and it works! The Copper John was developed by legendary fly tier John Barr. It can be tied in a wide variety of colors, making it very versatile. The most popular color is red, and it is a favorite as well. A red Copper John catches more fish on the Arkansas River than any other fly out there. It doesn’t really imitate a specific bug, but it does resemble a stonefly and mayfly very well. What makes the Copper John so effective is its profile. It just looks buggy! More favorite colors for the Copper John are: Copper, Chartreuse, Yellow and Black. Tie it the same way, just change the color of your wire!
The Lite-Brite Zonker is a great little streamer developed by Bill Black at Spirit River. It’s a new spin on the traditional zonker. The Lite-Brite Zonker can be tied in several color variations, but the one tied in this video is a favorite. You can tie it with a standard brass bead or a tungsten bead for extra weight. This is a must have streamer in your fly box and it really does produce fish!!
The EP Bay Anchovy is a great small baitfish pattern for Snook, Tarpon, Tuna and Stripers! It can be tied in several color variations with Olive, Chartreuse, Minnow and Tan being the most popular colors. Enrico ties this fly in one size….a #1/0. He has found that this is the best hook size for the profile & size of the fly. This is a great pattern and pretty straight forward to tie!!
Starting fly tying is never an easy feat. To make it a little easier, we brought in these starter kits of fly tying materials and tools from Hareline Dubbin, and we think they’re great! They come with all of the items you need to start tying some common and easy patterns — all in one box. All of the kits come with the same basic materials and vary on the tools and vise included. We did a video overview on each one of the three kits as well as a final comparison video. Check them out! They may be just the place to kickstart your fly tying journey!