By Bob Reece
Wire is a common ingredient in nymph patterns.
Whether in the form of ribbing or full body segments, this material adds the important elements of segmentation, durability and weight. Yet, because of its fairly rigid nature, it can be a difficult material to work with.
When attaching wire to the hook shank, it’s important that it lands on one of the lateral sides of the hook shank. This means that is should be tied in on the side of the hook either closest to your or the side opposite of that. This ensures that the nymph pattern is widened horizontally and not vertically. This matters because most natural nymphs have horizontally widened bodies. Using this tying method helps to mimic that profile when constructing nymphs.
In addition to the tie in location, the consistency of the thread wraps that are laid down matters for two different reasons.
If the wraps are laid down without consistent firm tension, the wire will shift position when the tier wraps it forward. Equally important is the spacing of thread wraps laid down on the surface that the wire will be wrapped over. If the wraps are not evenly spaced and create an uneven surface, that same uneven layout will be reflected in the overlying wire wraps.
With most tying materials, the scissors are used to cut off the excess material after it has been tied off. Due to its density, cutting wire with the tips of your tying scissors can quickly dull them. Instead, securing the wire with three to four firm wraps and “helicoptering” off the excess creates a clean break and prevents damage to your tying hardware.
Wire is an outstanding addition to many fly patterns. While less supple than the majority of tying materials, it adds elements to patterns that help them become more productive. As you move forward in your journey as a fly tier, add these techniques to your toolbox of tying skills.
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