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SBR Hendrickson Nymph Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: SBR Hendrickson Nymph
2X-long nymph hook (here a Dai-Riki #730), sizes 12-16
Gold tungsten bead, 7/64-inch
Lead-free round wire, .020
Adhesive #1:
Fly Tyer’s Z-Ment
Wood duck, 8/0 or 70-denier
Gold Ultra Wire, small
Wood duck tip fibers
Back / wingcase:
Natural pheasant tail fibers
Squirrel-belly-colored rabbit-fur dubbing
Squirrel-belly-colored rabbit fur dubbing
Wood duck feather fibers
UV-cure resi
Plunger-style hackle pliers, dubbing brush
Show / Hide SBR Hendrickson Nymph Transcript

Video Transcript:

I call this fly the SBR Hendrickson Nymph because it’s specifically designed to imitate the naturals found in my home waters, the South Branch of the Raritan River, in northwestern New Jersey. No, it’s not an exact match but I think it’s close enough. I believe the specimen here is just about ready to hatch out as a red quill adult and so seems to be a good nymph to imitate.

I start with a Dai-Riki #730 nymph hook in size 14. After mashing the barb, I’ll use plunger-style hackle pliers to get hold of the hook to make handling easier.

For weight and shine, I’ll add a 7/64” gold tungsten bead. Make sure to put it on your hook small hole first. Get the assembly firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise and push the bead forward, up behind the eye.

.02 lead-free wire is used to add even more weight and to help stabilize the bead. Begin taking wraps with the wire well back of the bead, 5 or 6 turns is plenty. Helicopter to break the excess wire off close. Just the smallest amount of Fly Tyers Z-ment is all that’s needed to hold the wire in place, once its been slid forward and held out of sight for a second or two. Because the wraps are now affixed to the bead and the hook shank, the wire tail can be wrapped easily, without everything spinning around the shank.

For thread, load a bobbin with a spool of wood duck colored UTC 70 Denier or whatever tan, brown or sort of yellowy thread you happen to have. Get your thread started on the hook shank behind the weight and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. Leave your thread at about the hook point.

Small gold Ultra wire is used for the rib. An 8” length is enough to make numerous flies. Lay one end of the wire on top of the hook shank so it butts up against the weight and take thread wraps rearward allowing the gold wire to migrate to the far side of the hook. Stop taking thread wraps right at the start of the hook bend.

I tend to be a bit of a wood duck hoarder and try not to let any of it go to waste. So I’m going to use a single well-marked feather to form both the tail and the legs of the fly. Separate out just the very tip from the rest of the fibers and snip it off at the stem. Measure these tip fibers to form a tail as long as the space between your tying thread and the back edge of the bead. Transfer this measurement rearward to the tie-in point and anchor the wood duck on top of the hook shank with tight wraps of tying thread. You can then deftly lift the butt ends of the wood duck up and snip them off close. Advance your tying thread forward to just behind the weight. Stash the remaining part of the wood duck feather away in a safe place for use later in the fly.

Natural colored pheasant tail fibers are used to form both the back and the wing case of the fly. Pull down and strip off a dozen or so fibers from the stem and snip the little curlies off square so they don’t catch on things, like your tying thread. Flip the fibers around and, while holding them in your left hand, snip only the very tips off square. Lay these on top of the hook shank and begin taking wraps of tying thread to bind them down. Continue taking thread wraps all the way back to the base of the tail. Then advance your thread forward once again to behind the weight.

Squirrel belly colored rabbit fur dubbing is used to form the underside and thorax of the fly. Pull an ample clump free from the pack or dispenser and use it to create a fairly thin 3” long dubbing noodle on your tying thread. Start taking wraps with the noodle rearward so the dubbing begins right at the base of the tail. Take two full wraps with the noodle around just the hook shank then pull the pheasant tail fibers forward over top of the dubbing. With the fibers held taught, take 2-3 wraps with the dubbing noodle over top of them, then pull the fibers back and continue building the body of the fly with wraps of the dubbing noodle. When you reach the bead, pull the pheasant tail fibers down and anchor them with a few tight wraps of tying thread.

Now, get hold of the gold wire and start making open spiral wraps with it to segment the body of the fly. I like to use it to delineate the one lighter colored segment. Keep making open spiral wraps all the way up the body of the fly until you reach the bead. There, anchor the wire with several tight turns of tying thread then brace the fly with your bobbin nozzle and helicopter the wire to break it off close. Pull the pheasant tail fibers rearward and take thread wraps to bind them down. Keep taking thread wraps rearward to where you want the back edge of the wing case to be.

Get hold of another pinch of dubbing and once again create a noodle on your tying thread. This time, a good bit thinner and shorter than the previous one. Start taking wraps with the dubbing noodle to build up the thorax of the fly and end with your tying thread at the back edge of the bead. Pull the pheasant tail fibers forward to make sure you’ll have a good looking wing case then let them rest rearward. Retrieve the wood duck feather you stashed away earlier and lay it on top of the fly, like so. Take 2 wraps of tying thread, not too tight, and then, while lifting the pheasant tail fibers up, pull the wood duck forward. Use the pheasant tail to keep the wood duck separated into equal clumps on either side of the fly. Manipulate the wood duck until it looks to be the correct length and in the proper angled-back orientation for legs. With everything looking fine, pull the pheasant tail fibers taught, out over the bead, and take a few wraps of tying thread to anchor them well. You can then use your tying scissors to snip the excess material, both pheasant and wood duck, off close.

If you’ve got some unruly fibers or fur, now’s a good time to give them a little trim. Pull down to expose some extra tying thread then do a 5 or 6 turn whip finish building up a short thread collar in the process. After seating the knot well, snip or cut your tying thread free. Reach for your UV cure resin to increase the fly’s durability and enhance the look of the wing case. It’s a good idea to work the resin into the pheasant tail fibers a bit as well as the thread wraps. A fine dubbing needle really helps out with the detail work. Finally, switch on the UV torch and use it to cure the resin. It shouldn’t take long.

Although not absolutely essential, I like to brush out the thorax and underside of the fly to give it a more natural look. If you get a little too natural looking, simply snip off the extra long stuff.

And that’s the SBR Hendrickson Nymph. You may want to make minor adjustments to the materials and colors to more closely match the naturals in your area.