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Lightning Bug

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This variation on a beadhead pheasant tail nymph has proven to be a very effective all purpose nymph in both tail waters and freestone streams. If I had to limit my Missouri River flybox to one pattern, it would be this fly. The pattern was developed by Larry Graham, a Montana guide, and published in the Spring 1998 issue of Fly Tying.

Printable Version


Hook:Daiichi 1560 or TMC 2487 size 12-18
Thread:8/0 Black
Body:Holographic Flat Tinsel, silver medium
Bead:Cyclops or Tungsten (Sized to Hook)
Weight:Lead wire sized to hook
Wing Case:Flashabou, Pearl
Rib:Gold Wire, small
Tail:Pheasant Tail Fibers
Thorax:Peacock Herl
Legs:Pheasant Tail Fibers

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Tying Instructions

  1. Place bead on hook.
  2. Wrap 4-5 turns of lead wire on hook and push inside bead.
  3. Start thread behind bead. Tie on gold wire and wrap thread to bend of hook.
  4. Tie on the tail using pheasant tail fibers and wrap thread back to eye of hook, making a smooth underbody.
  5. Tie on the holographic tinsel at eye of hook. Wrap the tinsel back to hook bend and then back to eye of hook. This should give a smooth body with no gaps.
  6. Rib the body with the gold wire, making the turns widely spaced.
  7. Tie 5-8 strands of pearl flashabou on top of the hook at rear of where the thorax will be.
  8. Tie on peacock herl and wrap thread to eye of hook.
  9. Wrap the peacock herl thorax.
  10. Tie on the pheasant tail legs in a bunch on top of hook.
  11. Pull the flashabou wing case over the thorax, splitting the bunch of pheasant tail so that you will have even legs on both sides of the hook. Tie off.

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