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Tail purposes?

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  • Tail purposes?

    So...when tying nymphs most people seem to use CDL as the tail and it got me to wondering what the purpose is of the tail on a nymph? Is it purely cosmetic and representative? Does it stabilize the nymph in the water and help control spin or drift? Does the tail have to be that thin? I started experimenting with small stripped single biots for tail material and aesthetically looks good... caught a couple of fish with them too but it was a slow day so it wasn’t a huge success... very interested in what others are using and any success stories...
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  • #2
    Originally posted by vancheesey View Post
    So...when tying nymphs most people seem to use CDL as the tail and it got me to wondering what the purpose is of the tail on a nymph? Is it purely cosmetic and representative? Does it stabilize the nymph in the water and help control spin or drift? Does the tail have to be that thin? I started experimenting with small stripped single biots for tail material and aesthetically looks good... caught a couple of fish with them too but it was a slow day so it wasn’t a huge success... very interested in what others are using and any success stories...
    I think the primary function of a tail on flies is to imitate a tail Both small mayflies and stoneflies have very fine tails, which are imitated well by CDL and pheasant tail. Other flies like Walts worms do not have a tail, and seem to do just fine.
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    • #3
      My feeling is that, although tails on tied flies are made to resemble tails on insects, the real reason is to aesthetically reward the tyer. I've fished bugs that should have tails, both with and without and they are equally effective.
      My feeling is that adding the tail material can and sometimes does increase the overall thickness of the fly body, because you have to work the taper and smoothness; I prefer a very thing fly to a fat tapered fly (usually).

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      • #4
        I personally think the bigger the fly, the more important the tail. I dont think it makes much difference in small flies like size 18-20 but on larger flies I seem to have more success with tails generally and I am a fan of thicker tails instead of sparse. My pheasant tails for example normally have around 6 fibers or so instead of 2-3. That is just my personal preference. With all that being said presentation trumps all of that. A pheasant tail with no tail and no legs properly presented, will outfish one of the most realistic nymphs around.
        I know where they live, I know what they eat. Now it's time to fool them with thread, feathers and roadkill.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Prowler View Post
          I am a fan of thicker tails instead of sparse. My pheasant tails for example normally have around 6 fibers or so instead of 2-3.
          A.K. Best whom John Gierach mentions often in his columns and books believes that trout can't count. If a trout is focused on a mayfly with 3 tails, it's ok to have more than 3 on your fly but don't have less than 3.

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