Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph Step by Step

Written by Ian Anderson

 

 

Background

The Prince Nymph is one of the first nymphs I was introduced to when I started nymphing.  It is a extremely versatile pattern and can be fished with success in many different waters and for many different species.  Normally, the Prince Nymph is tied using a brown rooster neck hackle for the collar.  I however, prefer a softer hackle such as a hen hackle.  You can tie it with a simple brown hen hackle but I like the mottling of a speckled hen hackle (thus the Soft Hackle).  This particular version of the Prince is also tied on a longer shank hook that a standard nymph hook so it can accommodate the bead on the front.  The bead gives it a little more sparkle and attraction as well as adding some additional weight.  You are not limited to a gold bead though.  Some fly fisherman like a silver, black or even bright orange bead under certain circumstance.  The rib is also changed on some versions.  I have seen them tied with a flat silver or gold mylar tinsel and even a pearl flashabou rib.  Whatever you prefer, the Prince Nymph is a fly all fly fisherman and fisherwomen should have in their fly box when on the water.

I have detailed step by step instructions below for tying the Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph.  The high resolution images might help answer questions as to how to tie this fly.  I also have a detailed video on the tying the Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph (see below).  I recommend you watch the video first and refer back to it because there is some information that is in the video that is not included in this article.  At the same time, there is some information included in this article that is not in the video.  Just remember, it is fly tying, it is supposed to be fun and learning new flies and techniques, while confusing as you are learning, can be quite fun and rewarding.

If you have any questions about the article or the video, do not hesitate to leave me a comment here or on YouTube (the video) and I will be glad to help clear anything up.

 Materials

Hook: Mustad 9671 or 3906b or TMC 5262, #10 – #18
Thread: Uni-Thread 8/0, Red (the Red thread is used for attraction, use a brown thread is you do not want a “hot spot”)
Weight: Gold Bead and Lead Wire
Tail: Goose Biots, Brown
Rib: Danville Oval Tinsel, Gold
Body: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Speckled Hen
Horns: Goose Biots, White

 

Instructions

1)  Place the bead on the hook and the hook in the vise.  You can de-barb the hook if you like. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
2)  Attached the lead wire and add 15 wraps of lead to the hook shank.  Then slide all of the lead wraps to the front of the hook.  They will go inside the gold bead and wedge it up against the eye of the hook. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
3)  Attach the thread just behind the lead wraps.  Create a thread dam against the lead wraps and make it slope out onto the hook shank.  This will help the peacock herl make a nice smooth body.  Place a few wraps on top of the lead wraps to smooth off the lead some. When finished, your thread should be at the end of the hook shank to tie in the tail.

 

 

 

 

 

Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
4)  Separate two brown goose biots and place then back to back, that is to say so that they flare out away from on another.  Tie in the biots at the end of the shank so that one biot is on each side of the hook shank and they curve away from one another.  Wrap up the hook shank a few wraps to secure the tail pieces and then trim off the remaining biots.  Continue wrapping the thread up the hook shank until you are about an eye length behind the gold bead. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
5)  Select four strands of peacock herl and even up the tips.  Trim away about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of the tips so that all four are even.  Tie in the peacock herl by the tips where the thread is hanging.  Continue wrapping thread along the hook shank towards the bend, stopping at the point of the hook. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
6)  Tie in the Oval Gold tinsel on the underside of the hook.  Once you have a few wraps on the tinsel to hold it move the tinsel to the opposite side of the hook (away from you). Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
7)  Continue wrapping thread on the hook shank and make your way to the end of the shank.  You should end up with the peacock herl tied along the top of the hook and the oval gold tinsel along the bottom. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
8)  Wrap your thread up the hook shank to just behind the gold bead. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
9)  Palmer the peacock herl up the hook shank making certain to place each wrap just in front of the previous, not overlapping.  Leave about 1/2 and eye length behind the gold bead and tie in the herl.  This gap is needed in order to not build up the area behind the bead too much. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
10)  Palmer the oval tinsel rib up the hook shank and tie off just behind the bead.  You should only put in four or five wraps of tinsel to form the rib.  Make certain to not place too many thread wraps on the fly while securing the tinsel. It is very easy to place too many thread wraps and before you know it you have filled up the space behind the bead. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
11)  Select a speckled hen hackle,  While holding it by the tip stroke back the fibers to expose just the tip of the feather.  Trim away the tip of the feather but leave just a small triangle of the tip for tying in the feather.  Place the small remains of the tip just behind the bead and secure it to the hook. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
12)  You will not be using the entire feather on the fly, only about one and a half turns.  Palmer the hackle around behind the bead one and a half times and secure the feather.  Once secure you can trim away the waste. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
13)  You can either stroke the hackle fibers in a downward direction or simply trim away the barbs that are on the top side of the hook.  Either way, you want to expose the top side of the hook for tying on the horns (or wings). Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
14)  Separate two white goose biots.  Place one goose biot on top of the fly with the tip either at the hook bend or just past it a little.  You will want to anchor the biot in place with you thumb or finger on top of the biot and the fly while you bring in your scissors to just behind the bead and trim away the excess.  Now you can place three thread wraps around the fly and over the cut end of the biot to secure it in place. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
15)  Repeat step 14 for the other goose biot.  Be careful of your thread wraps.  You don’t want to have so many thread wraps that you are starting to cover up the bead.  Leave the last three or four threads wraps for the whip finish.

 

Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step
16)  Place a four turn whip finish just behind the bead and trim away the thread.  Place a drop of head cement directly on top of the thread wraps and the white goose biots to secure them in place.  You can place a small drop on the thread wraps on the underside of the fly if you like.  Now your Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph is complete. Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph - Step by Step

If you prefer, there is a video on tying this fly.  I recommend you watch the video even if you prefer the step-by-step directions as the video can clarify some of the steps.

Feel free to leave a comment or question below.  If you would like, you can purchase some Soft Hackle Beadhead Prince Nymph here (while supplies last).

Always Remember…It’s Fly Tying… If You’re Not Having Fun, You’re Doin’ it Wrong!