Dave Whitlock–legendary angler, tier, author, and artist–passed away on Thanksgiving night, but he left a remarkable legacy in this sport we love. Among his well known patterns is what he called the Red Fox Squirrel-Hair Nymph, of which he wrote, “If restricted to one fly pattern, I would have to say that my Red Fox Squirrel-Hair Nymph is the most consistently effective fly, both in numbers caught and size, that I use.” He went on to explain why:
The Red Fox Squirrel-Hair Nymph, in its pattern and form, is an impressionistic fly. This means that it looks alive, vulnerable and edible to fish without looking exactly like a specific creature. A trout, actively feeding or not, seldom ignores such a morsel swimming or drifting toward it.
In this video, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions walks you through the steps for tying this effective nymph, which can be tied in a variety of colors and sizes. As usual, Tim’s process focuses on attaching all materials in such a way that they look great and don’t interfere with future steps. The fly is easy to tie once you see how Tim does it.
Red Fox Squirrel Nymph
Hook: 2X-long nymph hook (here a Fulling Mill 5085), sizes 10-16.
Thread: Orange or black, 70-denier or 8/0.
Weight: Lead-free round wire, .015.
Rib: Gold Oval French Tinsel, small.
Tail: Natural fox squirrel fur.
Abdomen: Red Fox Squirrel Abdomen SLF Dubbing.
Thorax: Red Fox Squirrel Thorax SLF Dubbing.
Collar: Speckled brown soft hackle hen saddle.
Head: Tying thread.
Adhesive: Head cement (here, Sally Hansen Hard-As-Nails).
Tools: Angled tweezers and whip-finish tool.