Beaded Mayfly Nymph

Printable Version


The Beaded Mayfly Nymph pattern was provided by club member Jerry McCullough.


Hook:Daiichi #1250 sizes 18, 16, 14 and 12
Thread:8/0 or smaller in the color of the bead head
Body:Killer Caddis Glass Beads.
Use small beads for hook sizes 14 and 12.
Use midge size for hook sizes 18 and 16
Tail:3 to 5 stiff barbules from a saddle hackle. 
Again, use the same color as the bead color.
Shellback:Turkey quill section tied in over the thorax.
Weight:1/64 inch in diameter - 1 oz. lead wire
Thorax:Peacock herl
Legs:Whiting dry fly hackle for hook size #14.


Tying Instructions

  1. Attach the hook tothe vise just behind the eye and with the point of the hook pointed up and the bend of the hook below the point. This is so the beads can be easily threaded on the hook using a pair of tweezers that remain closed when not held and the jaws open only when the tweezers are squeezed.
  2. Thread 4 beads on to the hook one at a time.
  3. Holding the hook at the bend of the hook to prevent the beads from coming off the hook, remove the hook from the vice and reattach the hook to the vice at the bend of the hook just above the point with the shank of the hook pointed down at about a 45 degree angle so the beads are all up by the eye of the hook.
  4. Attach the thread to the hook just past the bend of the hook with just enough turns to attach the thread. Trim off the excess thread.
  5. Tie the tail on top of the hook with a pinch wrap with about 3 turns at this point. The length of the tail should be about the length of the hook shank. Trim the excess tail from the front of the tie in point for the tail.
  6. Move one of the beads backward so that ti is over the tie in point of the tail. Hold the bead to the rear and make one wrap of the thread in front of the second bead. Continue to remove the remaining 2 beads one at a time just as the second bead was moved and ttached. You probably noticed that the shank of the hook is pointed down and the beads won't stay like they are without your holding the thread so lets do something about that with the next step.
  7. Grab the shank of the hook to prevent the beads from moving and detach the hook on the vice and reattach the hook so that the shank of the hook is at least horizontal or slightly pointed up.
  8. Cut a section from the turkey quill for the shell case no wider than the gap of the hook and tie this section on top of the hook at the front of the beads with the shiny side down. Secure that portion of the quill section in front of the tie in point. The quill section should be on top of the hook pointed up with the shiny side to the back.
  9. (Optional) If you do not want to use lead wire to weight your nymph go to step 10. Wrap 4 turns of lead wire starting at the tie in point just in front of the shell case and going towards the eye. Secure the wire by wrapping it with thread from back to front and front to back ending up with the thread at the tie in point behind the lead and in front of the shell case.
  10. Tie on a piece of peacock herl and the dry fly hackle ending with the thread in frontof the lead wire and about the length of the eye behind the eye leaving room for a head.
  11. Closely wrap the peacock herl forward clockwise until you reach thread. Holding the end of the herl up with your right hand use your left hand to rotate the bobbin around the shank at that point securing the herl at that point. Trim off the unused herl. Secure the herl further with a couple of thread wraps, but do not move the thread from that tie in point.
  12. Make only 3 clockwise turns with the dry fly hackle. Make the first in front of the shell case, the second in the middle of the thorax, and the third to the tie in point at the front of the thorax. Tie off the hackle the same way the herl was tied off and trim the excess hackle. A couple of more turns to further secure the hackle and we are ready to tie the shell back.
  13. With your left hand stroke back the barbules of the dry fly hackle and with your right hand grab the shell back and bring it forward to the eye. Secure the shell back with the thread using your left hand. Trim the excess shell back and any hackle fibers around the eye. Secure the shell back furhter with a couple of turns of thread.
  14. Whip finish the head and secure it with a drop of head cement and your ready to go fishing.



Various colored beads and thread can be used to match the different species of mayflies.


Fishing techniques

I usually fish the nymph with a float and just off the bottom of the stream with small split shot about 8 to 12 inches up from the lure.