FLY OF THE MONTH- November 2018
The Perdigon Nymph (... as tied by Richard Kos)
In a conversation I had with Richard Kos, our VFFA fly tying coach, he described his recent experiments with Euro nymphing, nymph fishing in general, and some recent successes with Perdigon nymphs. A couple of his Perdigon nymph ties are shown above.
So what are these nymphs? For those who subscribe to FlyLife magazine the Spring 2017 issue, number 89, carries a fine description of Perdigon nymphs and how to tie them.
If I‘ve got it right, these nymphs originated in France and then migrated over the hills into Spain, where their popularity exploded. They proved ideal for the heavily fished, clear and fast flowing trout streams in Spain. Trout in these Spanish streams see a lot of flies, so to fool them anglers started using nymphs that were small, heavy, and streamlined so that they sank quickly in the fast currents. And Spanish anglers won the world championship, so their nymph patterns were eagerly adopted by other competition anglers.
The theory was that trout (and grayling) are less fussy about taking smaller flies (especially those close in size to many of the naturals), and being streamlined – small, thin, and hard-bodied - they sink quickly to where the fish hold, i.e. close to the bottom of the streams.
Sizes are typically 14 – 18, they are usually tied on jig looks, and are fitted with seemingly oversize beads. They are also finished with a coat of UV resin of some sort (Loon or Solarez being two popular brands, though there are others), followed by a coat of hard nail polish (with Sally Hansen ‘Hard as Nails’ a popular choice).
The other good news is that these nymphs are very easy to tie, and can be tied in a huge variety of body materials.
Materials for a Perdigon Nymph:
Best choice – a jig hook in sizes 14, 16, 18, (or 20 if you’re game). Suitable models are Hends BL120 and Hanak H400BL or H450BL. If you don’t have jig hooks then normal down-eyed nymph or wet fly hooks can be used. The reason for using jig hooks is that in the water they turn over so that the hook point is uppermost and thus far less likely to snag on rocks and rubbish. Standard hooks can be used, provided the slotted tungsten bead is placed so that the majority of the bead is above the hook shank. This will cause the pattern to “roll over on its back” when it’s in the water.
Tungsten, of course, for weight. Sizes – try 2.8 mm beads on #18 hooks, 3.0 mm to 3.2 mm on #16 hooks, and 3.5 mm beads on #14 hooks.
As for colours – everyone has their favourites and the opinions vary. Silver and gold are popular, but copper and pink and red and ... lots of possibilities.
8/0 in any colour that appeals – olive, brown, grey, black, ... It might also be the material for the body.
Some fine gold or silver wire, if a rib is to be included.
Any quality cock hackle fibres will do, but Coq de Leon hackle fibres are mentioned frequently in descriptions. But keep them fairly sparse.
Plain tying thread is very popular, but Uni-mylar, Flashabou and stripped peacock herl are also used.
Tying a Perdigon Nymph:
- Slide a slotted bead onto the hook and put it in the vice. Add a drop or two of superglue to hold the bead in place.
- Add a few turns of fine lead wire behind the bead to add a bit of extra weight.
- Run some thread down the shank to just before the bend and tie in the tail fibres and the rib (if you decide to add ribbing).
- If the tying thread is to be the body material then build up a thin body which is progressively thicker towards the back of the bead.
- At this point you can wind the ribbing and tie it off. You can also tie off the thread at this point and then add a hot spot of bright red or orange thread.
- Alternatively, if you decided to use Uni-mylar or other bright material as your body then this can be added and tied off behind the bead using the tying thread.
- Cover all of the body and bead with a coat of thin resin, which can be carefully and evenly spread with a brush or toothpick. Harden the resin coat with a UV torch or exposure to sunlight.
- The next step is optional – many tiers add a dark wing-case by taking a black permanent marker pen and adding some black Texta to the top of the bead (see Richard’s two patterns above). Others suggest this is a waste of time and doesn’t catch any extra fish.
- Whether a wing-case has been added or not, the final step is to coat the body of the nymph with a coat of hard nail polish. Let this dry and your tiny Perdigon nymph is ready to catch some fish.
(Incidentally, a few tiers have suggested that if you don’t have any Loon resin or other resin brand, a few coats of hard nail polish might get you by. Just a thought.)
(These photos are from Trout Line SRL, based in Romania, and used with permission.)