Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Syl's Nymph

In keeping with established structure of the blog, the fly above is tied on a size 14 hook. Nemes, however, recommends tying the fly on nothing larger than a size 16 hook and, in fact, recommends the 16 over anything smaller: “[i]n my experience and from the experiences of many of my friends who have fished Syl’s Midge, the size 16 works as well as 22. So why sacrifice the bite and power of the larger hook?”

Hook:

16-18
Thread:

Red
Rib:

Extra small copper wire, reverse ribbed
Abdomen:

Peacock herl
Hackle:

Gray partridge from the nape or shoulder



In the second edition of The Soft-Hackled Fly (2006), Sylvester Nemes includes the dressing for his midge pattern. He explains that his soft-hackled midge takes its cues from George Griffith’s classic dry fly midge pattern, the Griffith’s Gnat.

The fly utilizes such popular and historically successful materials that other older possible precedents exist, though Nemes's dressing seems to be the result of much more conscious development in the American tradition independent of Restoration angling convention.

Nevertheless, in the Angler’s Vade Mecum (1681), James Chetham reprints the flies Cotton included in the second part of the Compleat Angler (1676). In both, the Peacock-flie or Fly is a dressing for May: “There is also this Month a flie call’d the Peacock-flie, the body made with a whirl of a Peacocks feather, with a red head, and wings of a Mallards feather.” If Cotton and Chetham intend the flytier to use a speckled or barred mallard's breast feather, then the effect would indeed be much like Nemes's. Nemes, however, suggests that the classic wet fly, the Gray Hackle (more commonly tied now as the Gray Hackle Red), is a more likely precedent.