by James Matthews
This is a technique I developed in 1999
after seeing Marvin Nolte tying at the Flydressers' Guild in Glasgow. Marvin tied small
dry fly dun patterns with organza, which is a material available from any dressmakers'
shop (used for bridal veils).
I decided to use it for a variety of deep
sunk nymphs. It can be used for rhyacs, hydropsyches, heptagenids, stonefly leg gills,
alder or baetis nymphs, in fact anything requiring gills.
I spent hours at the vice tying various
nymphs that I decided to show Davy McPhail, who has an article in this very magazine.
Davy's words of encouragement were welcome: "You'd win a competition with these
flies". Coming from Davy, who is regarded as one of the best tyers in Europe, this
was high praise indeed.
Anyway, here goes for the tying
For this fly you will need:
Hook: (for this fly I
used the YK12 ST Partridge, but any grub/shrimp type hook would do)
Thread: powersilk, dyneema or any GSP fine thead
Weight: thin lead sheet or tungsten sheet
Body material: nymph skin or flytyers' designer skin
Legs: golden pheasant centre tail (Veli Autie) hope I spelled his name
The fly in profile
I dyed the organza and nymph skin with
Dylon dyes in Olive and Golden Glow, but you could use permanent marker.
First tie on your thread just behind the
eye and wind down to a position just round the bend of the hook. Tie on the nymph skin
with a 45 degree angled cut. Tie this in securely. Park your thread out of the way. Cut a
thin strip of lead sheeting, between 1.5 and 2 mm and wind on and build up to your
preferred bug shape. Tie on another GSP type thread and cover the lead windings with the
thread. Park just behind the eye.
Wind the nymph skin in slight overlapping
turns, stretching very tightly for the first few turns, then relaxing over the mid-body
section, then tightening tension towards the thorax. Then tie off with 5 or 6 turns of the
second thread. Whip finish and snip off the tag.
Take the first thread that you tied in
and spin it to make a thin rope.
Follow the nymph skin segments for 2 or 3
segments, and now you're ready to gill.
Take 2 or 3 strands of organza, 6 inches
long and spiral into the nymph skin segments, one wrap. Your thread should be hanging over
the opposite side from you. Take your 3 strands of organza and bring it underneath, from
the opposite side. Lift the organza and bring it over to your side. Your thread should
still be hanging on the opposite side. Take another 3 strands of organza and do the same
on the other side. Spiral your thread forward and continue a full eight segments. You
should now have gills in a frilly mess, 3 inches each side. Take a pair of sharp scissors,
hold all the gill material and trim to 2-3mm each side.
Spiral forward and tie in Veli Autie
style legs. Then colour the remaining thread yellow. Whip finish and tie off. Add a drop
of head cement, then colour the back with a permanent dark olive marker pen. Fishing this
I find very successful for trout and
grayling. I know that many of the world's best tyers like to use ostrich herl for gilling,
but I find the organza adds the element of sparkle, and has the added advantage of being
As far as fishing this pattern is
concerned, it's no great secret, you could fish it Czech style, upstream nymphing, but you
could do a lot worse than purchase Roman Moser's New Ways of Fishing the Caddis video (if
you can get it!). Any problems or questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd like to thank Steve Thornton, Oliver
Edwards, Paul Whillock, and Bill Logan for inspiration and of course Davy McPhail, who is
always on hand with help and encouragement. And Mats, thanks for publishing me and
maintaining a fantastic site.
Text: James Matthews 2004 ©
Photo: Mats Sjöstrand 2004 ©