I posted this step-by-step tying on the forum earlier today and thought I may as well add it here. Most river anglers in the north will have heard of and/or used some variant or other of Oliver Edwards' legendary baetis nymph. Intended as an imitation of the pre-emergent baetis rhodani (large dark olive), this is my simplification of Ollie's original.
I've been using this successfully for a few seasons now; there is nothing new here, but the tying sequence may be of interest to any anglers on the look-out for a decent olive nymph pattern.
Hook: Partridge K14ST in #14 or #16
Tails: Woodchuck hairs dyed olive
Abdomen and thorax cover: Clear flexibody
Legs: Partridge neck feather
Thorax: Masterclass dubbing (#1 brown olive)
Apply a few turns of fine lead wire to the region which will become the thorax.
Now run on your thread and secure the lead wraps. Apply a drop of head cement to seal the lead.
Pick three woodchuck hairs and level the tips. Tie in on the top of the hook shank.
Bind the woodchuck hairs down and use the thread to split the tails evenly; then run the thread back up the hook and trim off the waste butts.
Now build up a tapered abdomen using the thread (try to keep this nice and neat). The thread can now be tinted whatever colour you like using a permanent marker.
Cut a strip of flexibody about 1.5mm wide and snip to a point the end to be tied in. If you wish, you can tint the leading edge of the strip with marker pen to accentuate the segmented effect we are looking to achieve. Tie in the flexibody by the very tip.
Now wrap the flexibody forwards to the rear of the thorax in overlapping turns to effect a nice segmented appearance.
Cut a slightly wider strip of flexibody (say 2mm), and tie it in on the top side, binding down towards the rear of the thorax. This will later be brought forwards to form the thorax cover.
Select a small partridge neck feather and prepare by removing all the fibres apart from 3-4 each side of the stem. Tie this in by the tip at the rear of the thorax.
Now dub on the thorax, working forwards to a point just behind the hook eye.
Add a tiny drop of head cement to the top side of the dubbing and bring the 'legs' forward until they 'bed' onto the wet cement. Tie off and trim away the waste. The legs can now be messed about with to ensure they are not all bunched together, before a second drop of varnish is added to the top.
All that remains is to bring the flexibody thorax cover forwards and tie down, whip finishing as normal. The permanent marker can now be called upon again to tint the head, thorax cover and abdomen if desired.
And that's it! Next time you're prospecting with the upstream nymph whilst waiting for the olives to begin hatching, try one - or a pair - of these on your leader. It fishes in the top twelve inches of water and will end up as trout and grayling food on a number of occasions, I promise!