Here author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going to tie a Blue-Winged Olive Quill Nymph with a bright orange hot spot. He was introduced to the fly by Doug Freeman, a friend and member of the US Youth Fly Fishing team. It’s Doug’s version of a Hunter Hoffler pattern.
For the fly, Matt uses a size 16 barbless competition hook with a black nickel finish. A 2 mm silver tungsten bead is added to help the fly drop quickly through the water column. Make sure to place the bead over the hook point, small hole first, then work it around to the hook eye.
For thread, Matt’s going to wander way out of his comfort zone and use UNI 6/0 in fire orange. With the bobbin loaded and the hook firmly secured in his tying vise, Matt starts the thread on the hook shank, just behind the bead and takes several wraps rearward before snipping the tag off close.
Medium Pardo Coq de Leon fibers are used for the tail which should be kept ultra sparse, no more than 6 fibers. Pull the fibers down perpendicular to the stem and strip them off while keeping their tips aligned. Measure to form a tail about a hook shank in length, transfer that measurement rearward and begin making thread wraps to secure the fibers to the top of the hook shank. Take wraps rearward to just shy of where the hook starts to bend. You can then lift the butts up and snip them off close.
A single golden olive stripped peacock quill is used to form the abdomen of the fly. Hold the quill by the butt end and orient it so the dark edge faces back and down. With your tying scissors, snip the brittle tip end of the quill off at an angle, like so. While maintaining the same orientation, secure the point to the near side of the hook with a few tight turns of tying thread and then continue taking nice, even, touching thread wraps forward to create the underbody of the fly. The idea is to keep the underbody as thin as you possibly can.
With hackle pliers get hold of the butt end of the quill and begin making touching or just slightly overlapping wraps up the hook shank. Really take your time doing this and you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully colored and segmented fly. When you reach the bead, take a few tight thread wraps to secure the quill. If your scissors are sharp enough, you can use just a single blade to cut the quill off clean below the top edge of the bead.
Squirrel SLF dub in dark brown is used for the collar. Dub the smallest amount on your tying thread to form an extremely slender dubbing noodle. Take wraps with the noodle to build up a short little collar and follow this with a few thread-only wraps to build up the hot spot.
Complete a 4 or 5 turn whip finish to secure your tying thread and then snip the end off close. And that’s all there is to it. The svelte nature of this fly along with the weight of the tungsten bead allow it to sink with little resistance and quickly get down deep to where the fish are, an absolute necessity in competitive fly fishing.