This is a nice little hex nymph pattern that has tons of movement, which steelhead have a hard time ignoring. Even though it takes a bit of time, this fly is worth it. But save it for the spots you know. The last thing you want to do is send it right into a pile of wood on your first drift. These wiggle type patterns have saved the day for us on many occasions.
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Hook: Daichii 1760 sz 6 (+)
Thread: 6/0 Uni Tan, White, or Brown (+)
Rear: 20mm articulated shank (+)
Eyes: Large Mono Eyes (+)
Tail: Pheasant Tail Fibers Natural (+)
Body: Crustacean Tan Estaz Medium (Amber or Peach work as well) (+)
Gills: Bruiser Blend Jr. Alpha Wolf (+)
Head: Tan Laser Dub (+)
or Cream Hareline Dubbin (+)
Connection: Intruder Wire (+)
Legs: India Hen Feather Natural (+)
Wingcase: Turkey Tail (+)
Finish with Loon UV Clear Cure Thin (+)
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Start by tying in the pheasant tail fibers. 6-8 individual strands should do it. Try to make them flare apart using the back loop of the shank.
Then tie in the estaz at the back. Put down 3 wraps, tie it off but don't cut it.
Add a small tuft of bruiser blend on the topside of the shank. Figure 8 wrap it so it flares out to the sides. Don't use too much.
Wrap the estaz under, and in front of the dubbing with another 3 wraps. Continue that process 4 times.
Now clamp the hook in, and tie the eyes down on top of shank with figure 8 wraps. Put the wire down and cover with tight wraps all the way to the bend of the hook, right above the barb.
Thread the shank onto the wire, fold it over and tie it down. Since there's no hook back there, don't worry about securing the wire too heavily. It's not load bearing. Keep a little loop in the wire so the back half of the fly can flutter freely.
Tie a strand of estaz down right in front of the wire, and give it another 3 tight wraps. Don't cut it off.
Figure 8 another tuft of bruiser blend. Again, less is more.
Just like before, bring the estaz around and under the dubbing, and put a few more tight wraps in front of the dubbing. Add yet another tuft of dubbing. These dubbing chunks will represent the gills of a hex nymph.
Once you've got all the gill sets tied down, flare them out a bit, and get a pair of long razor scissors, and cut them at a tapered diagonal angle toward the tail. Sort of like this:
At this point your estaz strand should still be attached. If you cut it, tie it back in. Grab a piece of turkey tail, about 3/4" wide, fold it in half (for durability), and tie it in so it overhangs back a little bit.
Fold the front portion back, and tie it down at the base. Also select a feather for the legs. Any feather from a soft hackle patch or hen saddle will work just fine, as long as the color kind of matches.
Tie it in by the tip, then run the estaz forward all the way to the eyes.
Then run the feather through the estaz. Should only take about 3 turns.
I like to cut some of the material off the top, so the wingcase can lay nice and flat over the topside. Just thin it out a bit so nothing interferes with the turkey feather we are about to pull forward.
Put some tan laser dub on your thread (or equivalent), and fill in the space between the eyes. Just gives the bug a little more substance.
Finally, pull the turkey forward, and firmly tie it down behind the hook eye.
Whip finish, clip the excess turkey off, and you're done. HIGHLY recommend coating the wingcase in Loon UV resin to really make this fly last a long time.
This thing might seem like a lot of work, but for spots that you know are snag free, this bug will get the job done guaranteed.