In cold water, grayling appear to feed right on the bottom which presents problems for the fly fisherman. Traditionally they have solved the problem by using leaded nymphs but I have found them too slow sinking. I wanted a fly to sink faster than a stone and discussed my problem with fly tier Lee Kitchen. Lee is not only a great fly tyer but, more importantly, is a very practical thinking angler. He told me that he had met the same problem and replaced both his brass bead and lead wire nymphs with tungsten. He had been using them for well over a year with great success, particularly with big grayling. Lee then gave me some tungsten bead nymphs for me to try.

When I tried these nymphs out in a deepish hole on the Upper Hampshire Avon, I could not believe how quickly they sank. Certainly tungsten as a metal is much denser than either brass or lead and it really showed in these flies. I am confident in saying that it catches grayling in swims that it would be impossible to catch them on traditional flies.

Instructions for tying tungsten bead hares fur nymphs.

These have been tied up on long shank hooks for ease of photography. In reality they are best on ordinary shanked hooks sizes 14 to 10. However these long shank versions work well on reservoirs and still waters.

1. Slide bead on to the hook.

2. Start tying thread behind bead and catch in gold wire for rib.

3. Take thread to bend of hook . Catch In a few hares for the tail. |

4. Dub hares fur on to tying thread and wind till you reach bead.

5.Take gold ribbing wire in open turns to bead.

6. Immediately behind bead take two turns of wire and cut off surplus wire.

7. Get a piece of velcro and rough up hares fur.

An alternative is to use red seals fur which is also shown in the illustrations.

The future

Lee is now working with a new tungsten based weave for weighting nymphs and results so far look very good. He is also working on weighting salmon tube flies down with tungsten.

Further details from