S Loop Nymph


Tying the S Loop Nymph




The next time you are fishing a river or stream, turn a few submerged stones and witness the many life forms that inhabit this environment. Your eyes will usually be drawn to the bigger caddis larvae, pupae and perhaps the stone clingers. However, take a closer look and you cannot fail to see that many of the nymphs are very small and slender - and they often move very quickly and with great agility. It starts to make you realise that even your carefully tied size 14 may be a little on the large side. Therefore, it pays to carry some patterns tied in smaller sizes. For me, this is where the 'S Loop Nymph' comes into play.


For the fly in the tutorial, the materials are:


Hook: Partridge SLD #20

Bead: 1.5mm Tungsten

Thread: Moser Powersilk 10/0 Olive

Tail: Woodduck barbs (Mallard works well too)

Abdomen: Orvis Spectrablend, Light Olive

Thorax: Orvis Spectrablend, Ginger

Loop: As tails

Rib: Tying thread



A version tied with Mallard fibres for the tails and loop:


Tying detailed appendages such as legs, tails, ribs and wing-buds can be important trigger point in a successful nymph patterns. However, as you tie in the smaller sizes, such intricacies can sometimes prove a little fiddly. The 'S Loop Nymph' is a pattern that exhibits a neat profile, accurate size and also a little movment. Fished singly, upstream, this is a good searching pattern. Carefully roll cast into deeper pockets of water, the tungsten helps it reach the required depth. Watching the leader or takes, this sort of fishing can be very exciting.


A few examples around a 5p coin, to give you an idea of size:


This also works well fished in a New Zealand style. With the 'S Loop Nymph' tied to a tippet directly of the bend of a dry-fly, you have he added advantage of having a form of indicator and giving the fish the opportunity to take the dry. 


Holding a 'halo' of water: with Woodduck fibres for the loop



The pattern is simple to tie. It uses part of the dressing you would otherwise snip off as you tie - the butts of the tail fibres. The loop that is formed acts to give the nymph some movement. What does it represent? I am unsure - perhaps hatching wings or legs? It certainly helps the water to form a 'halo' around the nymph - which certainly makes it undulate in the water and gives the fly a sense of movement and life - not too far removed from the effect of a soft-hackle.




Holding a 'halo' of water: using Mallard fibres for the loop




A pink-tungsten bead version makes a useful variation for targetting grayling:




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Catch in the thread and, with touching turns, wind down down to the bend. Catch in the three Woodduck (or Mallard) fibres to form the tails.



Trapping the fibres, keeping them on the top if the hook, return the thread to behind the bead. The loose fibres should point upwards.


Form a noodle of dubbing around the thread and start to form the body.


You are aiming for a neat, tapering body. You should end up with your thread at the base of the tails. The loose fibres should remain pointing upwards.



Spin the bobbin clockwise to form a tight cord with the thread.


Wind the thread up through the dubbing with four or five, open wraps. This gives you the ribbed, segmented effect.


Now catch the loose butts of the tails fibres and form a loop, sloping backwards. The tips should protrude over the eye.


In this picture I have shown the position of the loop between you fingers. Aim for the loop to be approximately 2/3 the length of the body.


Pinch and loop the thread and tie in the fibres to form the loop. Two or three wraps will suffice. The loop should sit in line with, and on the top of, the hook.


Dub the thread and build a small thorax


To complete the fly, whip finish behind the bead.