Today’s Tie: Skinny Nelson

We’ve had a discussion re: Simple Baetis Fly patterns and recipes revolving around such. The Skinny Nelson and minor variations of it have been part of the discussion, so I sat down to tie that one in particular. I think I’ll tie enough to fill up a row to keep as a staple fly, and after this round will tie the simple pattern discussed at the top of the thread next.

Here’s my go at it:

First attempt…not bad, it’ll fish, but I don’t like that my tail is too long and the head ended up too block-headed behind the eye making the thorax look a bit too big.
Skinny Nelson - Attempt 1

After a few tries I ended up with something I’m a bit more happy with – better tail dimensions and tapered front. Don’t get me wrong, the other versions will still make my fly box and I’m sure they’ll catch fish, but I’m working on tying better looking flies.
image (8)

image (9)


Here are the details:

Skinny Nelson (bead optional):
Hook: Size 18 Mustad 3906B Wet Nymph Fly Hook (because I found a box on my table), otherwise I’d use TMC 3761 size 18
Thread: Thin black, 8/0 or Black 70 denier
Tail: pheasant tail, or brown or black hen hackle fibers,
Ribbing: Gold or copper ribbing, I used both x-small and brassie
Wingcase: Pearl (or other) flashabou
Thorax: Peacock Ice Dub

Following the recipe and instructions here, I tied this a little differently than I would my typical PT-style nymphs, and may continue to follow this route since it seems, intuitively, that it would offer a more even look along the fly body and more durability. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but I’ve been tying in ribbing right at the tail and not securing it along the length of the shank in the past, which gives the fly more junk in the trunk, and who likes a fly with a big butt?

Tie in thread behind the eye
image (4)

Wrap thread back toward the bend, tie in the tail, then wrap thread back up to the eye, then tie in the ribbing behind the eye.
image (5)

Wrap thread over the copper wire toward the bend of the hook along the shank of the hook, then wrap thread back to behind the eye once again.
image (6)

As you can see from the image above, that is where I tied in the flashabou wing case near the middle of two strands. Then, grab both ends of the flashabou, pull toward the back of the hook, and tie over the flashabou, toward the back of the hook, to secure it as the wingcase. Dub thread with peacock ice dub, wrap to behind the eye, and tie flashabou over the dubbing. Cut the excess, half-hitch or whip finish, and you’re done.
image (9)