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  #1  
Old 08-09-2009, 12:19 PM
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Default "Collyer's" series of nymphs

These nymphs were created by my father in the late 1960's after dragging a net around Weir Wood reservoir.
After examining the morning's efforts, my dad was dis-satisfied with most of the nymph patterns around at the time, so he devised a general purpose nymph design in various colours that was suggestive of many things which the trout were feeding on.
Collyer's brown, green & grey were probably the most popular.
The then record rod-caught rainbow trout was taken from Nether Wallop Mill around 1970 on the Collyer's grey, so that made quite an impression at the time!
For such a simple series of flies, it seems that people have a very wide take on what is a Collyer nymph. The green nymph is actually pale olive - perhaps this is where some of the confusion lies...

The pattern can be suggestive of many things, such as damselfly nymphs, chironomids, pond olives, sedge pupae and so on.

Collyer's Green Nymph

Click the image to open in full size.


Hook:
10-12
Silk:
To match body colour
Tail:
Tips of body feather material
Rib:
Fine/medium gold tinsel or wire
Body:
Goose, swan or cock pheasant centre tail fibres
Wing case:
Body feather material
Thorax:
Ostrich herl matching body colour

Click the image to open in full size.

Simple - even a beginner can make these with no problems.

Take the silk down to the bend in close turns & tie in around 6-8 fibres of the chosen tail/body/wing case feather (don't trim!), followed by the ribbing.

Click the image to open in full size.

Without tying-in the tail/body fibres any further, take the silk back up towards the eye to a fraction over 1/2 way to the shank, building a tapered body of silk if you wish.

Click the image to open in full size.

Wrap the feather fibres (don't twist them) around the shank maybe 5 or 6 times to form the body & tie off without trimming, so that the fibres stick straight up from the centre of the top of the shank.
Rib the body going the other way to which you wound the feather fibres. Again, about 5 or 6 turns is right. Tie off.

Click the image to open in full size.

Tie in a single ostrich herl which matches the body colour. The flue needs to be pointing back towards the tail. Take the silk right up to just behind the eye.

Click the image to open in full size.

Wind the herl in close turns up towards the eye. You should get 10-15 turns in. Tie the herl off & trim.

Click the image to open in full size.

Pull the body feather fibres straight down over the top of the herl, creating the wing cases. Again, tie the fibres in well.

Click the image to open in full size.

Trim up, create a neat head, whip finish & varnish.

Click the image to open in full size.

Go get 'em!
Dunk, kentru, heathenwoods and 3 others like this.

Last edited by steve collyer; 02-07-2017 at 08:13 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-09-2009, 12:45 PM
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Hi Steve, I am very impressed with your Dad's nymphs, many years ago, in the 1930s A gentleman fishing on the river Avon in Amsbury, told me that if I fished with something brown, or green I would always catch fish, because most trout food is in those colours, he gave me some nymphs that are a near exact pattern of your Dads, and they sure worked wonders, Michael Evans has some, what he calls,General purpose nymphs, again very similar, and to this very day I tye and fish this type, and colour, nymph, Thank you for your very interesting thread.
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:02 PM
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Steve,
Isn't it interesting that the easiest flies are often the most effective and ever lasting. Thanks for the post.
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:58 PM
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..........................

Last edited by 19 Fut Sheelin; 17-12-2009 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:22 PM
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Thanks everyone for your replies.
I'm glad these still seem to be catching well - I thought they would.
As for them being difficult to tie... well I think a Diawl Bach is probably just as "tricky"!

Generally my dad liked to tie these unweighted, because he thought the slim body was an important part of the fly's attraction. However, he did sometimes make them with lead wire underbodies in a size 10 for small stillwater sight-fishing use.

As for the best flies also being the simplest - yes I agree wholeheartedly.
Also, I think that despite what many people say, you can catch on any water under any circumstances with very few flies.
As far as nymphs go, I reckon that these nymphs & the killer GRHE, damsel nymphs & maybe a buzzer pattern would easily be enough to get by on in any UK stillwater.
Just because Bloggs is pulling them out like he knows their first names on a lime green headed orange fritz and everyone else is doing badly, doesn't mean it's the fly that's the key.
More likely it's the depth, presentation & Bloggs' set-up that are the deciding factors, not that the trout are on an orange fritz feeding frenzy that particular day!

Finally, I wasn't aware of the similar pattern from the 1930's & clearly neither was my father, as he was quick to credit others where credit was due.
This is very interesting - I wonder if the same materials were used back then?

Last edited by steve collyer; 08-09-2009 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:23 PM
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A Collyer's Green Nymph was my "go to" fly when fishing the small stillwaters and I literally caught hundreds of fish on it from places like Damerham, Rooksbury Mill and Rockbourne. I later adapted it for very fussy fish in the same way as your Dad (although I obviously didn't know it at the time) by introducing a little lead wire under the thorax in order to get it to sink to deep cruising fish but I also took out the rib to make it less flashy and more natural.

I never did quite so well with the brown.
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Last edited by sewinbasher; 08-09-2009 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:36 PM
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Interesting.
I also did best on stillwaters with the green, but found the grey & brown excellent for grayling & trout on the rare occasions we fished the Test at Broadlands.
Unlike a previous poster above, I think I used weighted 12's & 10's on the Test back then. Rather uncouth perhaps!?

Also, I may make some up with 5lb mono as ribbing, rather than the tinsel. I think this may make them look even more natural with the added bonus of protecting that rather delicate body fibre material.

Last edited by steve collyer; 08-09-2009 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 18-09-2009, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve collyer View Post

Simple - even a beginner can make these with no problems.
Thanks for putting these up Steve - this is my first ever effort at fly tying and I'm not finding it too foolproof! Can somebody give me some general pointers please

I have trouble judging proportions - the body comes out too long and the thorax very short. Am I not starting far enough back on the hook bend?

The materials tend to roll around when being tied in - the tails are lopsided etc - should these be tied tighter or longer (i'm doing about 5 turns). The thorax cover is also lopsided

Everything snaps at the worst possible moment - is it best to start over?

How do you end up with a nice neat head?

Anyway - I started about 8, of which these two survived being recycled -the hooks are partridge SLD #12 and TMC2499SP #14 (the only barbless i could get in the shop) which are'nt probably ideal, and I used wire instead of tinsel. Any constructive comments welcome


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Old 18-09-2009, 10:49 AM
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Hı Rog.

What you should do as a complete begınner ıs to fınd someone who lıves locally to you from thıs forum who tıes theır own flıes. I should thınk a beer would be adequate payment for an hour's tuıtıon!
They could easıly show you how to get 'neater' lookıng results & pıck-up on any obvıous mıstakes.

Havıng saıd that, I've often found that even the roughest lookıng flıes can catch. One thıng I would say ıs that neatness tends to suggest that the flıes last longer. Rıbbıng doesn't become detached, heads & bodıes don't fall apart & so on.

Fınd out the 'breakıng straın' of the sılk you're usıng by tyıng on & then pullıng the sılk straıght down from the hook untıl ıt snaps. Unless there's somethıng wrong wıth eıther the sılk or bobbın holder, you should be surprısed at the amount of force needed to snap ıt.

Somethıng lıke 8/0 Unı-thread ıs good.
Use thıs pre-waxed thread to help bınd-down materıals. The wax should stop them slıppıng, provıded they are tıed-ın tıghtly to begın wıth.

As for proportıons, well to some extent thıs ıs up to the ındıvıdual. If ıt doesn't seem rıght to you, then havıng someone sıttıng next to you, showıng you the basıcs ıs agaın much easıer than tryıng to explaın wıth any amount of text and/or photos.

The neat heads are mostly achıeved by a few sımple methods.
-Fırstly, you should have a neat, level base after you've completed the last part of the fly; ın the case of these nymphs ıt ıs the wıng cases.
Trım the feather fıbres off as close as possıble wıth your scıssors poıntıng back towards the taıl & at a nıce, shallow angle.
-Next, bınd-down the fıbres goıng rıght up to the eye & clearıng any remaınıng fıbres out of the eye wıth the sılk, or manıpulatıng wıth your fıngertıps. Thıs ıs far easıer to demonstrate than explaın!
-Form a neat, tapered head as ın the photos above.
-Use a 5-turn whıp fınısh to also add to the neatness of the head & trım wıth scıssors close as possıble to the knot.
-Use a varnısh or head cement so that you apply one layer to secure, let ıt dry whılst you tıe another fly, then maybe another 1 or 2 coats to add shıne & a consıstent outlıne.

Any more questıons - gıve me a shout.
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Old 18-09-2009, 12:29 PM
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Good advice already. The one thing you can do to get proportions much better (this is your biggest problem) is to allocate a third of the length of the hook shank for the thorax and two thirds for the body. Your thoraces are too small at the minute. Also, try to taper the body a little towards the tail, the smaller of the two in the lower photo is not far off and if tied on a smaller hook would be a pretty good attempt.

As Steve said don't worry about scruffiness as scruffy flies often catch as well if not better than neat flies.
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“A Spring Day on the Usk”
A Fisherman’s Diary
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