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The Insult Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: The Insult
Daiichi 1770 wet/nymph hook, sizes 10-12
Lead-free round wire, .020
Black 6/0 or 140 denier
Tails 1:
Brown hackle fibers
Tails 2:
Strung peacock herl
Strung peacock herl
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Video Transcript:

This is Poul Jorgensen’s “The Insult”. Thank you very much to the viewer who suggested it, as I’m not sure I would’ve found it otherwise. The Insult is ridiculously easy to tie and does a pretty reasonable job when it comes to imitating an isonychia nymph. Certainly not an exact representation but super effective, none the less.

I start with a Daiichi #1770 in size 12, although Mr. Jorgensen’s original recipe called for a size 10. Begin by getting the hook firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise.

.02 lead-free wire is used to add some weight to the fly and give it a more realistic profile. Get the wire started at about the lowest point of the hook’s curve and take touching wraps forward, 6 or 7 is plenty. You can then helicopter the wire to break it off close and tuck the tail end in against the other wraps.

For thread, UTC 140 Denier in black is an excellent choice. Start your thread immediately behind the wire and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. Use the thread to get the weight bound down well and create some taper between it and the hook shank. Follow this with wraps of tying thread rearward almost to the hook point.

The first part of the tail is created using brown hackle fibers. I like the ones found on the feathers at the outside edge of the neck as they tend to be fairly stiff, straight and long. After plucking a single feather free from the skin, pull down the fibers perpendicular to the stem and strip off a dozen or so, keeping their tips aligned in the process. Measure to form a tail about a hook gap and a half in length and use your tying thread to secure it to the top of the hook shank, all the way back to the start of the bend.

Strung peacock herl is the only other material used on this fly. Get hold of 3 or 4 good looking herls with relatively long flues, and pull them free from the rest. After getting their butts aligned, snip off anything that looks scrappy or off-colored.

Give your bobbin a healthy counterclockwise spin so the thread will jump rearward on the first wrap and catch the herls allowing you to anchor them to the top of the hook shank. Once they’re locked down, reach in with your tying scissors and snip the herls off, leaving a secondary tail about half as long as the first. Don’t discard the herls. Instead, while keeping those snipped off ends aligned, tuck them away someplace safe as they’ll be used in a just a few seconds. Continue taking wraps of tying thread up the hook shank and over top of the weight, ending with your thread an eye-length behind the hook eye.

Now, pick up those ever-so-handy-herls and flip them around so the cut-off butts point rearward down the hook. You need just enough to get hold of them with the fingertips of your left hand. You can then take thread wraps with your right to bind them down. Once they’re secured, snip those short butt ends off close.

Get hold of the remaining tip ends of the herl and start taking wraps rearward behind your tying thread. Tension on the thread, created by the weight of the bobbin and the spool, will help force the herls together which, in turn, will create a full, even body on the fly. When you reach the base of the tail, use your tying thread to firmly secure the tips of the peacock herl. Give your bobbin a good clockwise spin to cord up the thread, increase its strength and decrease its diameter. Use it to make open spiral wraps over top of the peacock herl, effectively counter wrapping it and increasing its durability tremendously. When you reach the hook eye, make sure to uncord your thread first before performing a 5 or 6 turn whip finish and snipping or cutting your thread free. All that’s left to do is snip off the excess herl tips and The Insult is ready to fish.

I absolutely love patterns like this that require few materials, are quick and easy to tie and most of all, can be counted on to catch fish.