Forked Tail

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Forked Tail

Postby ScottP » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:23 am


The Forked-Tail, tied with a black (or brown) ostrich herl body, was developed in the 30's by Don & Dick Olsen and popularized by Doug Prince; he came up with that peacock-bodied pretender-to-the-throne variation that bears his name. Can't argue with peacock, the Prince is one of the most successful nymphs out there, but the ostrich looks cool, too, and is a nice change of pace.

hook - Mustad 79580 #6
thread - Danville 6/0 black
underbody - non-tox wire .025
tail - biots black
rib - silver wire x-fine
body - ostrich herl black
hackle - hen black
legs/feelers/wings/whatever - biots white


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Re: Forked Tail

Postby letumgo » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:44 am

Marvelous! I could use a whole row of these in my fly box. Lethal looking pattern.
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Re: Forked Tail

Postby gingerdun » Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:08 am

Well done Scott. Perfect. Nice how the underbody not only gives weight, but bulks up the body in the thorax area.
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Re: Forked Tail

Postby DOUGSDEN » Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:17 pm

Like Lance, I am admiring the nice, even taper of the body from back to front accented with the silver wire! It just looks good and buggy! I wasn't aware of the history of this pattern and it's assn. with the Prince Nymph! Interesting!
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Re: Forked Tail

Postby PhilA » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:31 pm

Your Forked-Tail Nymph tied with ostrich is indeed handsome. A very beautiful tie! On most Forked-Tail Nymphs tied today, the white biot wings curve toward the body, but you've tied them as the Don and Dick Olsen original -- curving away from the body. Nice.

I've never read a description of how Doug Prince came to tie his namesake nymph, but I've often wondered whether he knew of the earlier Olsen patterns. I don't think those Olsen recipes were ever published, however, prior to Prince tying similar, if not identical, flies. Forked-Tail Nymphs were local favorites around Bemidji, MN, where the Olsens lived. Whether Doug Prince, who lived in Monterey, CA, knew about the Olsen patterns seems lost in history.

One thing is clear, however. Doug Prince is not responsible for the name "Prince Nymph". Prince called his nymphs "Forked-Tail Nymphs", just like the Olsen flies. Skip Morris in his book The Art of Tying the Nymph says that Prince tied versions both with ostrich and peacock herl. (Black and Brown Forked-Tail Nymphs, respectively.) The name "Prince Nymph" was given by Buz Buszek (of Buz Buszek Award fame of the Federation of Fly Fishers). Buszek owned a very successful mail-order fly business in Visalia, CA from the 1940s - 1960s. He and Doug Prince were friends, and Prince tied flies commercially for Buszek for a brief period. Prince supplied Forked-Tail Nymphs to the business.

Doug Prince described Buszek's naming of the fly on the occasion of Prince's acceptance of the 1981 Buz Buszek Award. He says that Buszek was in a rush to put together a catalog one day and wanted to include the peacock-bodied nymph that Prince had tied and fished with great success. But Buszek couldn't remember the name "Forked-Tailed Nymph". Instead, he hastily put the fly into his published catalog as the "Prince Nymph". The name stuck, because Buszek's business was quite significant nationally.
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Re: Forked Tail

Postby Norm Frechette » Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:30 am

excellent history lesson on the fork tail and an excellently tied fly as well
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Re: Forked Tail

Postby fly_fischa » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:32 am

Beautifully tied fly Scott and a great history lesson. I know my prince inspired nymph isn’t historically correct but it borrows from both patterns. Thought it would be a good idea to bump your gorgeous forked tail nymph back to the top. Karsten :D
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Re: Forked Tail

Postby daringduffer » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:02 am

Well done, Karsten. Since I'm not conditioned to nymphs, I had not seen this. I love history and well tied flies. This gave me both.

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Re: Forked Tail

Postby tie2fish » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:24 am

This is a cool thread and that's a really fine fly.
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