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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Flashabaetis Nymph

A Flashy and Unweighted Mayfly Nymph

A gaggle of Flashabaetis nymphs
There was a time that I got into a sort of weird rut with my nymph patterns and ended up with the vast majority of my flies tied with beads on them. I didn't even think about it until a day when I was sight fishing to a bunch of nice high mountain cutthroats and my bead head patterns were all sinking way too fast past the noses of the fish, resulting in a very poor showing in the net. Even though I finally dug out an unweighted fly that ultimately scored me some good fish because it spent more time slowly sinking (i.e. hanging in the "zone"), I realized I'd become too bead-heavy in my tying. Lesson learned: always be sure to have a good mixture of weighted and unweighted nymph patterns in the same types of patterns in order to cover more of the water column and different fishing conditions.

 The nice thing about unweighted patterns is that they can actually be a little more multi-purpose than bead-head flies. It's tough to get a bead head to sink slower, but especially in lakes or slower moving water, you just need to add a little more time and the unweighted fly can reach your target zone and even hang there longer.  My little cutthroat excursion above was a pretty obvious example of this where the unweighted fly (same style) outscored their beaded buddies by a huge margin. I could only chalk that up to having the fly maintain a more natural descent or movement in the water and possibly remaining in the fish's view for more time.

The Flashabaetis was born out of this concept with some added flashiness to help get a little more attention in the water. It's a really fun pattern to tie and you can mix up the color schemes to imitate a lot of different mayflies, although I'm usually tying them for Pale Morning Duns (PMD's), Baetis (Blue winged olives) or Callibaetis nymphs.

Material List

Hook: Partridge Czech Nymph, #14-#18 (+) or Daiichi 1130 #14 - #18 (+)
Thread: UNI 8/0, Olive Dun (+)
Tail/Legs: Hungarian Partridge -- Full Skin (+) or Bagged Partridge Feathers (+)
Body: UNI Double Sided Mylar, Peacock/Orange, #12 (+)
Ribbing: UTC Ultra Wire, Brassie, Copper   (+)
Abdomen Back: Veevus Holo Tinsel, Med, Brown (+)
Thorax: Hare'e Ice Dub, Gray (+)
Wing Case: Nymph Skin, Bronze/Tan - Clear (+)
                   or Fino Skin, Brown (+)

Other Tools, materials:
Loon UV Fluorescing Clear Fly Finish (+)
Touch Dub, Dubbing Wax (+)


  1. Back to the basics, a good reminder, thanks! On a side note, do you typically prefer this bent style hook vs a straight hook for mayfly nymphs? I'm looking at the recent M3 vs this pattern. I'm interested in your decision process or if you have any bias. I tend to lean towards the Scud/Czech hook as they look so buggy to my human eye.

    One more thing; you guys have so many game changing patterns...I'd really like to see a list of your Go-To patterns for Caddis/Caddis Pupa/Caddis Nymph/Mayfly/Mayfly Nymph etc. For some of these there are so many patterns that I don't know which are really the "creme dela creme".

    1. The style of hook is partially an aesthetic thing, partially a weight thing, partially a barbless thing, partially a "will the fish bend this out" thing, partially a "how will it be oriented in the water" and maybe partially a "this is what I felt like tying it with" thing. So on this one, I wanted barbless for where I'm fishing, I wanted it a bit beefier for fish size purposes and also a beefier hook could sink a slight bit faster. But I definitely tie this style in a straight shank lighter wire hook too. Or I just flip a coin. ;)

  2. What is your Go-To mayfly nymph pattern when you first hit the water? I've seen some ultra realistic stuff (legs and all), some biot styled stuff, and then the pheasant tail permutations. Wondering what you think is most useful as a first option for River/Streams.

    1. For baetis, hands down the Aerobaetis. For Callibaetis, it's this or the Deep Dish (depending on how deep I'm fishing)

    2. Awesome, thanks as always! Why no legs on the Aerobaetis? Obviously the old pheasant tail doesn't have any though the naturals have fairly pronounced legs at times. Just curious. BTW, very cool to know that the nymphs darken before hatching...that stuff helps a lot.

    3. No reason really other than slimming it down and keeping it simple.

  3. Have you ever had feelings for a nun?