Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Moderators: William Anderson, letumgo

User avatar
PhilA
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:27 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by PhilA » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:01 pm

Bazza,
Yes, a single ply of yarn thinly covers an underbody of wire in two layers. Beginning near the thorax, I first sculpt an underbody of wire in the desired shape of the final fly, ending behind the thorax. Next, I lash a single ply of yarn working rearward, untwisting but not wrapping the yarn as I go. This leaves the wire dangling in a bobbin at the tail. Wrap the yarn very thinly to the eye, untwisting as needed to lay flat. Reverse direction and wrap very thinly while untwisting to the tail. Tie down the yarn with 2-3 wraps of wire, snip the waste, and make 1 or 2 additional wire wraps. --Cheers, PhilA

The finished fly when wet...
Image
User avatar
redietz
Posts: 1417
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:21 pm
Location: Central Maryland

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by redietz » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:31 pm

Greenwell wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:24 pm
Remember that our Britt friends call hackle "red" that we would call "brown."
When we're talking about chicken feathers, we're really no different. A Rhode Island red rooster isn't exactly scarlet. Poultry breeders have their own language; Brit tyers just seem to stick to that language ("red game") more than American tyers. I'm not sure this transfers to wire.
Bob
Bazzer69
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 12:49 pm
Location: Redding California

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by Bazzer69 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:06 pm

PhilA wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:01 pm
Bazza,
Yes, a single ply of yarn thinly covers an underbody of wire in two layers. Beginning near the thorax, I first sculpt an underbody of wire in the desired shape of the final fly, ending behind the thorax. Next, I lash a single ply of yarn working rearward, untwisting but not wrapping the yarn as I go. This leaves the wire dangling in a bobbin at the tail. Wrap the yarn very thinly to the eye, untwisting as needed to lay flat. Reverse direction and wrap very thinly while untwisting to the tail. Tie down the yarn with 2-3 wraps of wire, snip the waste, and make 1 or 2 additional wire wraps. --Cheers, PhilA

The finished fly when wet...
Image
PhilA, very many thanks for the detailed description, the fish, which is a very nice, hasn’t been told this is a Grayling fly, shows it works!
I liken fishing flies to abstract paintings, fish sees the canvas and sometimes sees it as his favorite food!
I recently, at very great expense bought a half a card of genuine Chardwicks 477. I’m going to tie as many Killer Bugs as it will let me do I am going to tie mainly in smaller sizes because I don’t want to stress my Hardy C C de France with big flies.
What hooks are you using? For the sake of fidelity do you have any idea of what mr Saywer used?
Thanks again
Bazza
Love both fly fishing and fly tying, been doing it for a while
But not much good at either
User avatar
PhilA
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:27 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by PhilA » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:59 pm

Bazzer69 wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:06 pm
What hooks are you using? For the sake of fidelity do you have any idea of what mr Saywer used?
Thanks again
Bazza
Barry,
Sawyer says nothing in Nymphs and the Trout about the hook other than its size. The first edition states "No. 2 or 3 hook" (modern #13 or #12) for his "grayling lure". (The name Killer Bug came later at the urging of Lee Wulff.) I have no idea of the brand, but perhaps others here who have seen Sawyer originals might know the brand or at least the hook profile. I tie KBs on #14 Tiemco 3761 hooks. With their 1X-long shank, that comes out close to Sawyer's hook size, assuming his were not also long in the shank.

You might want to hang on to much of that Chadwick's 477! I'll send you a big slug of a pretty good 477 imitation. It's described in detail at http://classicflyrodforum.com/forum/vie ... 73&t=85951, and trout won't know the difference. --Cheers, PhilA
User avatar
ForumGhillie
Site Admin
Posts: 646
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:28 pm
Location: Cheesehead
Contact:

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by ForumGhillie » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:16 am

PhilA wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:53 pm
Ghillie John,
Yes I have! Soft-hackled Pheasant Tails tied with pheasant tail feather barbs dyed red are very effective.
So are those dyed orange.
And, those dyed rusty brown.
And, those dyed olive-brown

There's a trend here. Neither the color of the wire nor the color of the pheasant will dissuade a trout from taking a SHPT presented in the right spot.

Phil
Phil, do we only own one copy of "What The Trout Said", or one color of Pearsall's Gossamer Silk thread? Why stop? :)
redietz wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:31 pm
Greenwell wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:24 pm
Remember that our Britt friends call hackle "red" that we would call "brown."
When we're talking about chicken feathers, we're really no different. A Rhode Island red rooster isn't exactly scarlet. Poultry breeders have their own language; Brit tyers just seem to stick to that language ("red game") more than American tyers. I'm not sure this transfers to wire.
Even here we often times refer differently to some aspects of our sport within different areas of our country, which can be deceiving - such as: what we call an insect, a fly pattern or worse yet, hooks.

John
daringduffer
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:11 am

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by daringduffer » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:45 am

Greenwell wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:24 pm
dd,
.......
How red is red? Remember that our Britt friends call hackle "red" that we would call "brown." Of the many original Sawyer flies, and photos of the same, that I have seen over the years, I have never seen any that were dressed with wire that this Yank would call "red." Copper or even copper-brown perhaps, but not "red." This may all be a matter of cultural differences in describing a common color and nothing more. Like I've said before, I've tied PT's with several shades of copper wire and have not found one to be demonstrably better than another.
Image

John,
In my post I referred to PhilA's photo and description of copper enamel.
If I had the ambition to be more precise, I could word it 'darker enamelled' and 'lighter/brighter enamelled' copper.
I don't know if the copper colour has anything to do with the reddish colour of the wet Killer Bugs that PhilA is showing. It just might be the reddish nylon in the 477 yarn that gives the end product its appearance. Have to admit that I haven't tied a KB without copper and then wetted it to compare.

When I was breeding Tanganyika cichlids and feeding them live creatures, movement was what they looked for. When all moving stuff was gone, they usually mopped up the rest. Colour didn't seem important to them.

dd
ronr
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:03 pm
Location: Central Oregon/Texas Transplant

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by ronr » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:31 am

Phila...I've read all your research into locating a Chadwicks substitute...I'm fascinated by the killer bug and watched video of it being fished in England. From what I can tell, it is supposed to imitate a scud, or caddis larva. What's your opinion and is the Peruvian substitute easily obtainable. Here in Central Oregon there are a number of Alpaca raisers and some retail establishments that may sell their wool. I'm going to have to be on a hunt to find out. Is there any chance that you could afford another small sample of that wool so that I can look for similar colors.
I've tied a few of the killers using sparkle yarn... but they don't quite provide the same color change in the water...
thank you for sharing the fruits of your research... this forum is such a wealth of knowledge...

cheers...
ronr
User avatar
ForumGhillie
Site Admin
Posts: 646
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:28 pm
Location: Cheesehead
Contact:

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by ForumGhillie » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:22 am

Since we are on the subject of KillerBug and PhilA. He is known to study the original author's works and then go to all ends of the Earth (via the Internet) to find the original ingredients to make an exact replica of original fly patterns, except for the fur from a ram's testicles.
Attachments
PhilA-with-fly-Chadwick-477.jpg
Phil tying the Killerbug at the Badger Spring Opener in Madison, WI
PhilA-with-fly-Chadwick-477.jpg (104.45 KiB) Viewed 571 times
PhilA-with-Chadwick-477.jpg
Phil showing off is Chadwick 477... he is both a master tier and a master at finding deeply discounted FF stuff on eBay.. Notice his Clark spinning block off on the side.
PhilA-with-Chadwick-477.jpg (77.18 KiB) Viewed 571 times
User avatar
PhilA
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:27 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by PhilA » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:04 pm

ronr wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:31 am
Phila...I've read all your research into locating a Chadwicks substitute...I'm fascinated by the killer bug and watched video of it being fished in England. From what I can tell, it is supposed to imitate a scud, or caddis larva. What's your opinion and is the Peruvian substitute easily obtainable. Here in Central Oregon there are a number of Alpaca raisers and some retail establishments that may sell their wool. I'm going to have to be on a hunt to find out. Is there any chance that you could afford another small sample of that wool so that I can look for similar colors.
I've tied a few of the killers using sparkle yarn... but they don't quite provide the same color change in the water...
thank you for sharing the fruits of your research... this forum is such a wealth of knowledge...

cheers...
ronr
Ron,
Thanks for the kind words. I'll gladly send both yarn and wire, as I have lots of both. Sadly, the substitute yarn (Berroco "Ultra Alpaca Fine", color #1214, "Steel Cut Oats") is no longer made. You might get lucky and find a skein in a yarn shop, but it's certainly no longer plentiful. Upon learning that, I bought several skeins. That's many lifetimes worth! Perhaps you could send me your mailing address via a forum message here.

Sawyer described the Killer Bug in the first edition of Nymphs and the Trout as an imitation of freshwater shrimp (scuds). He later came to appreciate that it also imitates other aquatic invertebrates, as it was effective in rivers and lakes that have very few scuds. This was described in the second edition, where he suggested trout take it for an aquatic beetle or ascending caddis pupa.

My own opinion (and this is not unique to me) is that Killer Bugs are also excellent imitations of crane fly larvae, photos of which can be found at https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=cr ... ORM=HDRSC2.

Both scuds and craneflies are abundant in my home waters, which are entirely limestone spring creeks. I find that KBs are especially effective in the early season (March-April), when hatches are sparse and intermittent. During that period, I often fish a KB in tandem with a small soft-hackled pheasant tail, and the two flies yield about equal results. After the water warms and hatches become more intense (~late April), a KB seems less effective. The two flies are no longer equal, and I switch the KB for something more imitative like a caddis pupae or soft-hackled sow bug.

Cheers,
Phil
Greenwell
Posts: 285
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:05 pm

Re: Frank Sawyer's Nymphs

Post by Greenwell » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:35 pm

Well, this is a thread that has spun off into several tangents! Just a couple comments:

As to hooks, I am sorry that the style that Frank Sawyer used was never mentioned in any of his writing. A number of years ago I briefly corresponded with Nick Sawyer, Frank's son. One of the questions I had for him was what hook the Sawyers prefered. He said that they used a number of different hooks over the years but he didn't have the styles. I had the feeling that he may have been a bit evasive. The original PT's in my collection look to be on a Mustad hook called the Mustad Kendall 9143. I ordered several hundred from the UK and they are pretty close but seem to be shorter in the shank the the original PT hooks. I stumbled across a light wire version of the same 9143 hooks a few years later that's a bit longer but it's finer wire than I like personally. I've used the TMC 3769 for over 30 years, which I'm sure everyone is bored to tears with me repeating that ad infinitum, and I am totally satisfied with it.

I've tried many different colors of dyed PT for the flies but always come back to the natural. I won't say that different colors aren't effective, I just can't prove them to be any better. I do like a black dyed PT for tiny early stonefly nymphs but those are about the only dyed PT's I ever use. Just my opinion based on personal experience and nothing more.
Post Reply