Nymphing has come a long way over the last couple of decades—many fly anglers will start with attractor nymphs on new water, simply because they make great searching patterns and tend to be top-of-mind when nothing is obviously hatching. But, even searching with attractors like a Prince or a basic hare’s ear or pheasant tail is an inexact science. If fish are keyed on on specific food sources, these flies might only get a glance or two. In other words, it helps to know the river.
Specific flies for developed for specific waters intrigue me. Here in Idaho, we’ve long known about the Bitch Creek nymph, tied specifically for a Teton River tributary (but a great golden stone pattern for lots of other rivers, too). In the video below, Tim Flagler ties the SBR Sulphur Nymph, a fly developed for the South Branch Raritan River in New Jersey. This fly matches the river’s most prolific aquatic bug, and, judging from the fish we see Tim releasing at the end of the video, it matches it pretty well.
This is one of the more complex patterns I’ve seen Tim tie. But, when it’s all said and done, it’s a good-looking bug, and one I wouldn’t hesitate to tie on wherever sulphur mayflies occur. It’ll take some practice, but the results might make the time spent at the vise totally worth the effort.
— Chris Hunt