Fly Tying- Should upsidedown flies be tied rightside up ?

this recent article from Devin Olsen at Tactical Fly Fisher brings up some very interesting points on nymph design, particularly and as the article’s titled-

Wingcases, shelbacks and wings: To invert or not to invert ? that is the question.

among other great observational insights found in the article, one of the most pertinent, easily verifiable by anyone who takes the time to actually look at how a nymph swims when attached to tippet facts is:

– whether the fly is tied on a standard or jig hook, it doesn’t drift horizontally or in other words, its attached by only one end and therefore tilts and it does its thing in a position that has nothing to do with the usual horizontal fly-in-the-vise or fly photo perspective.

– with this in mind another factor worth considering is, due to water turbulence and all the bazillion currents/countercurrents found in flowing water, nymphs and any subsurface fly tumbles, rocks back and forth, spins and twists while they’re swimming and this again destroys the perfect side view described above, once again reminding us that our 2D perspective and subsequent fly designs may indeed catch us fish but we’re probably not seeing a greater picture that might maybe help to make more fish-attractive designs or simply to have a better understanding how our imitations work and finally, if its worth including or subtracting elements to our patterns.

nymph design Devin Olsen-Tactical Fly Fisher

i do like Devin’s conclusion and it definitely fits in with my own experience-

“Last and most importantly, I’ve tried both methods of wingcase placement with inverted flies. Those tied with wing cases in the normal fashion have fished as well or better for me than those tied inverted. Drift theory aside, this is the only real reason that counts much to me.”

this is good stuff so be sure to click either the pic or the link at the top of the page for the complete article. enjoy !

4 thoughts on “Fly Tying- Should upsidedown flies be tied rightside up ?

  1. Marc,

    In one of my favorite books on nymphing, ” Nymph Fishing For Larger Trout” by Charles Brooks he introduces the style of tying called nymphs in the round. It is a more impressionistic style that makes the fly appear the same from any angle. His pattern the Montana Stone, along with many others, does not have a wing case.

    Regards, Phil

    • Phil, that’s a prime example of reinventing the wheel. Flyphs use the same symetric concept and they where undoubtly inspired by North Country wets/spiders that came about just after the last dinosaur period, before the wheel itself…

      i don’t have a lot of tying books but that one looks interesting and might ad it to the list. thanks for the heads up.

  2. Marc, This is one of the best technique books on nymphing I have. It describes at least twelve different methods that had been developed up to it’s publication in 1976. Similar in style to “Dynamic Nymphing” by Daniel, it gives the angler an overview of several methods in one volume for easy comparison and application to the situation the angler finds himself in. Better still, all before indicators came onto the scene. He covers methods by Skues, Sawyer, Leisenring, Hewitt, and Brooks (his own contribution). Named methods Rising to the Surface, Upstream, the Continuous Drift, the Life Nymph, Pot Shooting, and a catch all chapter titled the Leftovers. As with most of the greatest innovators in our sport and elsewhere, they are a combination of the knowledge before them and a knack for creative experimentation. Even then sometimes all they come up with is another wheel, because that is what works.
    What always impressed me most about the old school nymph fishermen is that they had to have the eyesight of a hawk and a natural instinct to determine when the take occurred. Proof of that is my personal slip in strike detection that corresponded to aging vision. What Jim Teeny and I swore we would never do, use indicators, I could rarely catch a fish without some type in my long in the tooth years.
    In 1978 this book provided a pivotal moment in my development as a nymph fisherman.
    Regards and good reading, Phil

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