Olive FC Scud

Nymphs: Step-by-step fly tying instructions. 

Chris Watson's Olive FC Scud - Fly tying instructions

Olive FC Scud created by Chris Watson.

I've always had a great deal of success using scud/shrimp patterns, even on waters that do not have the natural present; they're excellent stalking flies and have saved many a blank as a "last resort". The fly described below is one of a series of new variations of a very successful pattern of mine that I designed many years ago. The addition of the Nymph-Head® FlyColor™ brass bead increases the attraction of the fly to the fish and initial testing has proved to be very successful. It can be used in both running and still water and fished in the same way as you would normally fish a scud or shrimp pattern. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other variations – various sizes, different colored beads/bodies/shell-backs, add a second bead in the center of the body as a ‘hot spot’, replace the Nymph-Head® FlyColor™ brass bead with a Nymph-Head® Heavy Metal™ tungsten bead for a really heavy fly, or a combination of the aforementioned. The fly tying instructions as detailed below may appear to be a little complicated, if you follow them meticulously not only will you have a fly that will prove to be attractive to your chosen quarry, but it will also prove to be extremely durable.

Fly tying materials

Hook: Grip 14731 (1x heavy grub hook) #12.
Thread: 50 denier GSP.
Head: Nymph-Head® FlyColor™ brass fly tying bead, baetis green-olive 2.8mm (7/64"). 
Body: A blend of olive, bighorn orange, and bighorn pink Sow Scud Dubbing.
Shellback: Magic Shrimp Foil, olive #11.
Weight: Fine square lead.
Rib: 5 lb. Olive mono.
Tail/Mouthparts: Olive dyed Partridge hackle fibres.
Other materials: Olive Pantone Pen, Fly tying wax, Super Glue, head cement.

Fly tying instructions

Step 1

Flatten the hook barb, if desired. Thread the bead onto the hook and secure the hook in the vice. Wax your thread and lay down short flat base of thread working from the eye of the hook. Keep spinning your thread counter clockwise throughout the whole tying process to keep it flat (every turn of thread creates a twist in it). Return the thread back to your start point and tie in a small bunch of Partridge hackle fibers on top of the hook to suggest the mouth-parts, trim off the waste. Whip finish, cut your thread and apply head cement.

Step 2

Slide the bead up to the eye of the hook wax your thread and re-attach it behind the bead. Secure the bead at the head of the fly. This is best achieved by angling your thread at 30 degrees to the hook shank and driving it under the bead and working it up and down the hook shank over a short thread base creating a ‘double pointed cone’ as shown in the image. Apply super glue once the bead will not twist when pressure is applied to it.

Step 3

Lay a thread base down the hook, repositioning your hook in the vice when you go round the bend of the hook. Wrap an under body of touching turns of square lead, ensure that there are no twists in the lead before applying it. Create a ramp of thread behind the lead under-body, creating a smooth transition onto it. Take your thread over the lead under-body in close open turns, create a further ramp at the front of the lead and return the thread in close open turns to the rear of the fly. Using a pair of fine flat nosed pliers flatten the lead laterally, this serves two purposes – it accentuates the ‘hump shape’ and provides less water resistance to the fly when fishing. Apply super glue to the leaded area. Tie in a small bunch of Partridge hackle fibers at the rear of the fly to represent the tail and trim off the waste.

Step 4

Cut a suitable length of mono and crimp one end to create a ‘biting point for your thread when tying it in. Tie your rib in under the hook shank. Cut a point at one end of your magic shrimp foil. Run your thread a short way back up the shank and tie in the shell-back by the point, stretching it as you tie it down working towards the rear of the dressing. Check that your shell-back is properly centred before continuing to the next step. Ensure that you tie the magic shrimp foil with the smooth side uppermost as you want the textured side on top of the finished fly.

Step 5

Thoroughly blend your mix of Sow Scud dubbing fibers. For the purposes of this fly my blend was 60% olive, 15% Bighorn orange and 15% Bighorn pink (approximate). Create a loose rope of the dubbing mix onto your UNWAXED thread. Wind the dubbing rope up your fly, repositioning the hook into the normal position in the vice jaws when appropriate. Finish the dubbed body approximately 1.5mm behind the bead, thereby allowing sufficient space to tie off the rest of the materials and finish the fly.

Step 6

Apply wax to your thread and color it using the Pantone pen (do it in this order otherwise you will deposit some color on your wax which can transferred onto your thread when using it to tie another fly). Stretch the shell-back over the top of the fly ensuring it is properly centered over your dressing. Tie this in by first making two ‘bobbin weight’ turns of thread towards the bead, followed by a further two turns of thread under full pressure (this will alleviate the problem of the back twisting off center). Whatever you do, DO NOT TRIM OFF THE WASTE MAGIC SHRIMP FOIL AT THIS STAGE; this will avert any disasters with the shell-back springing loose. If desired you can half hitch at this point for ‘added security’. Wind your rib up in open turns in the opposite spiral to your thread, as shown. Gradually increase the pressure as you go up; using this technique will solve the problem of the shell-back twisting off center during the ribbing process. When you reach the tie off point take two turns of thread round your rib, pull the thread and the rib in opposite directions. Repeat this process three to four times working towards the front of the fly. Stop when you reach the rear of the bead, fold the rib back and tie down over the thread base.

Step 7

Cut off the waste end of the rib. Trim off the surplus shell-back material. Do not attempt to do this with a single cut as you will end up with an unsightly tag of material. The best way to achieve a neat finish is to stretch the tag end and make a series of small cuts using the tips of a fine pointed pair of scissors, whilst keeping the material under tension. Make a whip finish, cut your thread and apply head cement. Using your dubbing needle pick out the dubbing to suggest legs and trim to length.