For those who don’t know Jay Fair, he is
known as the “guru” of fly fishing (and dark
side fishing) on Eagle Lake, where there is
a special strain of fish sometimes called
“Eagle Lake Trout.” These fish are large and
they fight hard— but they can be notoriously
difficult to catch. Suffice it to say that
Jay has been around a long, long time. Over
the years he has developed a series of flies
that work—really work—for Eagle Lake fish.
Not surprisingly they work elsewhere too—
meaning anywhere that trout or bass will
grab something that moves enticingly through
the water and looks something like a leech,
damsel, or whatever lives in the
Through his company, called Eagle Fly
Fishing, Jay has marketed many products as
well as his patterns. Although the company
was recently sold, Jay continues to advise
the new owners and is active in the fly
fishing community. One of his more
remarkable products is a line of crystal
chenilles called “shuck.” It comes in many
beautiful fishy colors (e.g., burnt orange)
and in three different sizes: long shuck;
short shuck; and now baby shuck. I must
admit to a bit of bias here, since I am a
member of the Jay Fair “Pro Team,” but I
don’t think anyone will disagree with me
when I say that Jay’s materials are of
excellent quality and the range of choices
is broad. If you’d like to see a list of Jay
Fair products, just “Google” on “Jay Fair
products” or “Eagle Fly Fishing.”
The Wiggle Nymph is a sparsely tied fly —
too much material will adversely affect the
fly’s motion in the water, which is clearly
the key its success. It is suggestive of
damsels and leeches, and can be tied in a
variety of colors and color combinations.
For this month’s pattern we will tie it in
1. Smash the hook barb. Wrap 4 or 5
turns of lead or substitute on the
shank and cover hook and lead with
thread back to bend (just above back
2. Tie on a
tail of marabou. Use a ¼” section from the mature part of the plume. The tail
should be 1” to 1 ¼” in length. Resist the urge to use more marabou and be sure
the length is correct.
3. At the same point, tie in a short piece of burnt orange baby shuck and a
burnt orange saddle or neck hackle with barbule length equal to the hook gape.
Tie the hackle in by the tip.
4. Wrap the baby shuck forward to a
point about 1/16” behind the hook
eye; tie it off there.
5. Wrap the hackle forward, using only 4
wraps. Tie it off at the same spot as
the baby shuck. This is important: leave
enough room for a nice, small, smooth
6. Whip finish at the head and apply a
tiny drop of head cement or super glue.
1. When forming the head of the fly
try to end up with a cone-like
shape. Avoid making too many wraps.
When doing your whip finish, move
rearward with each turn of the knot,
ending up at the rear of the head.
2. Before learning to use a
whip finisher, learn to do the whip finish knot by hand. There are a number of
reasons for this hint, including the probability that at some point you will
have forgotten to include your whip finisher in your traveling tying kit. Also,
by learning how to tie the knot properly, you will better understand what the
whip finisher does and does not do. It’s not an easy knot to learn, but once the
movement is understood it will become intuitive.
Note: here's a link you can
copy & paste into your web browser's address window to Sexyloops website with
animated instructions: http://www.sexyloops.com/flytying/whipfinish.shtml
Or, you can just Google: "whip finish" and get
a bunch of websites with various techniques and tools demonstrated.
The Wiggle Tail Nymph moves
with graceful motion through the water. Before you fish it, wet it well and move
it around in the water (on your leader, of course) in front of yourself by
moving the tip of your rod. You’ll see why this fly is so inviting to fish —
and, you’ll better understand how to retrieve it once you cast it to your