Simple Nymphs

Simple Nymphs

Tying A.K.'s Quill Body RS 2

  • By: A. K. Best
One of the simplest nymphs to tie, and one of the most effective to fish, is the RS 2. It's the nymph to use during either a Baetis or midge hatch. Besides looking very much like the nymphal stage of either insect, it can be fished down near the bottom or anywhere between the bottom and the surface-or it can be greased and fished as a surface emerger. It has become a classic pattern. I'm like a lot of other fly tiers in that I'm always trying to make a change or two to a classic pattern to suit my needs. For example, I like the traditional gray RS 2 to have a green body for some Baetis hatches or a tan or black body for some midge hatches. I want to improve on the visibility when fishing it as a floating emerger and I'd like to add to the buoyancy of the fly. Some experimenting with basic materials substitutes and a few years of field-testing has led me to the Quill body RS 2.

Hook: Your favorite dryfly hook, size 16-22
Thread: Color to match body color, 6/0 or 8/0
Rib: None
Tail: Mottled brown hen back segment or Rit Tan dyed or natural gray Mallard flank segment.
Body: One stripped and dyed rooster neck hackle quill. Dye to tan, green, black, or gray.
Wing Post: Split segment of gray poly yarn
Thorax: Gray, tan, or black rabbit with some guard hairs left in

1) Attach the tying thread just above the hook point, wind to the beginning of the bend.

2) Stroke a well marked hen back or mallard flank feather to even the tips and clip off a segment that is no wider than the hook gap.

3) Tie the segment to the top of the hook with the tips to the rear and extending beyond the hook bend by the distance of the hook-shank length. Lash the tailing down to within one hook gap space of the eye, lift the butts and clip them off.

4) Trim off the tip from a quill at a point where the remaining diameter is equal to the hook and tailing, and tie it onto the hook about a hook gap space behind the eye.

5) Lash the quill down with tying thread to the beginning of the bend and bring the thread back forward to the starting point.

6) Wind the quill forward in tightly nesting wraps to within one hook gap space behind the eye, tie it off on top of the hook and clip off the butt.

7) Tie on a segment of light gray poly yarn that has been split to be no larger in diameter than about twice the size of the hook eye and clip it to a length of no more than 1/8 inch. Be sure to tie the poly yarn immediately in front of the quill body. This will make it stand up slightly.

8) Dub a fuzzy thorax area immediately in front of the post. Whip finish, tease the dubbing a bit and apply a drop of head lacquer.