Tying the Stud by Loren Williams

Articles, Fly Patterns, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on January 4, 2010 7:16 am

What’s the saying? Necessity is the mother of invention? This little bug fits in there somewhere. I had been searching my creative place for a very simple to tie, light colored nymph that offered just a bit of that “ooohhhh yyyeah!” look when wet. The typical light colored dubbings, quills, biots, and threads just weren’t doing what I had in my mind. I wanted sexy, not cute.

Pressured fish see lots of cute!

So, one day I was perusing my local steelhead country fly shop and I saw the tan STS Trilobal dubbing shown below. I figured “what the heck.” I think the first run at this fly was more along the lines of a GRHE and once the fly got wet the ribbing slid right off the butt. But, the dubbing was almost exactly what I had envisioned! I was on to something! I did catch some trout, but they were stocked fish, really all I had available that fall. Not that I have anything against stocked fish, but I like my flies tested on pressured, wild trout.

After a series of attempts at fixing the sliding rib I was turned on to the Sulky thread by a Fly Fishing Team USA team mate. The stuff is super strong and it really allows me to pull the ribbing deeply against the dubbing. That, coupled with the thin, sexy flash completed this fly. Countless trout and many states later, this fly is one of my top producers.

It is important to keep this fly on the sparsely dubbed side. The dubbing will lose it’s sexiness if you glob it on. What seems to happen is that the water will get into the body and make it come alive, with a bit of the thread color bleeding out. I guess “gooey” is a good description.

It’s a quick tie so wrap some up and try them out. I think you will approve!


Bead: gold tungsten
Hook: barbless scud
Weight: lead wire to match hook wire diameter
Thread: beige
Tail: wood duck flank
Rib: pearl Sulky thread
Abdomen: tan STS Trilobal dubbing
Thorax: Siman peacock eye dubbing

Place a beaded hook firmly in your vise.


Wrap about 8 turns of lead on the shank.


Push the lead up into the bead cavity. The will hold the bead in place and cause the fly to drift slightly head-down.


Start your tying thread, covering and securing the lead. End near the bend.


Select a wood duck flank feather and separate out about 10 fibers, keeping the tips even.


Remove the fibers with scissors and measure the tail to be about 3/4 the length of the hook.


Tie the bundle in at the rear.


Secure the fibers forward and on top of the shank, this will help build a smooth underbody taper and fill in the cracks between each lead wrap.


Clip the excess just shy of the bead.


Find your new spool of Sulky! (available at craft stores)


Clip off a section and secure it to the far side of the hook, this is the proper position of counter-ribbing.


Bind it back to the tail.


Apply several SPARSE applications of dubbing to your thread.


Should look like so…


Make the first wrap behind the ribbing material, this will really help to keep the ribbing from sliding off the rear of the fly when it gets wet and worn!


Advance the dubbing forward in tight, touching turns.


End just shy of the bead.


Counter rib the Sulky forward in very tight open wraps. Pull hard enough to visibly sink the rib into the dubbing.


Make the final wrap in front of the thread, pull it under the shank and to the rear…


One thread wrap will secure it. Clip the excess.


Apply a bit of Siman’s peacock eye dubbing to the thread.


Wrap a small tight collar just behind the bead.


Rough it up a bit and whip and clip! You are all done!


This is Loren’s second submission to Hatches Magazine.  Loren Williams is an accomplished fly angler with over 3-decades of angling and tying experience behind him. He is considered one of the best teaching guides in Upstate New York where he guides for salmon, trout, and steelhead using traditional fly-fishing techniques (http://www.flyguysoutfitting.com/). Loren is also a very popular public speaker, regularly presenting on topics relating to fly-fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout. Additionally, Loren is a successful competitive angling member of Fly Fishing Team USA

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Tying the Stud by Loren Williams, 6.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings


  1. Ken PIgg says:

    I’ve looked for Sulky thread in Pearl color for the “stud” but could not find that color listed on the manufacturer site. Please advise color or number more precisely.



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  2. Steve Korbay says:

    Great looking fly. We will have more of the Peacock dubbing in about two weeks.


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  3. gladiator says:

    very nice fly, i enjoyed your post very much.
    i will now try to do one, as i have only started fly fishing this year, 2010.

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