Our Man In Canada
August 7th, 2000
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"B-cubed" Nymph

By Sheldon Seale
Photos by Jim Kripps

Fly tyers have gone to great lengths to imitate things fish feed on, sometimes with a degree of realism that seems magical. One area that has seen a lot of development has been the so-called "extended body". There have been some very interesting developments in this area, although largely with dry flies. More recently, nymphs have begun to attract renewed interest, and several new ideas and a couple new products have emerged.

The value of an extended body in a nymph is that it can be more imitative and natural when a fish takes it into its mouth. For example, cased caddis larvae cases are not rigid. They're soft to the touch because they are just small bits held together with silk. In the case of swimming or burrowing nymphs, if the extended body is flexible enough, you may get some movement which can enhance the look of reality about the fly.

Most patterns, however, suffer from a serious drawback. They have a hook shank running down the middle. To a fish picking up the fly, this steel spine feels totally unnatural and it may be rapidly ejected. This is something I have observed frequently in the wild. A fish picks up something, realizes its not food, and spits it out immediately.

To address this problem, Lee Wulff, before his untimely passing, was experimenting with extended bodied nymphs using short pieces of old fly line for the base of the abdomen. His argument was that a fish might hold on to a fly longer if it didn't feel a hook shank. More recently, there have been a number of pre-formed extended bodies available in fly shops. All of these approaches have advantages and disadvantages.

My friend, Paul Schlote, introduced me to the Braided Butt Beadhead Nymph (or the B-cubed nymph for short) in 1990. The tying steps were a little awkward at first and we worked on a couple ideas until we had an approach that simplified the process and made braiding the marabou relatively easily.

Since then, the pattern has been further simplified. While the braiding steps are not that obvious, once you understand the technique, you will be able to tie the pattern with ease. More importantly, you will be able to adapt this technique to other patterns and materials.

"B-Cubed" Recipe