Some of the most productive nymph patterns used by fly anglers over the years have been those that do not exactly imitate a specific insect. Rather the use of size, color and a general buggy feel is used to attract fish to bite. The AP Nymph, originated by Andre Puyans, is a typical example of such a fly pattern. Since its introduction it has become a go-to fly for many anglers.
Although the A.P Nymph was created as a generic nymph pattern it does a particularly good job in imitating the Isonychia mayflies that hatch throughout North America. The Isonychia mayflies are excellent swimmers that are normally found in the faster flowing streams and rivers. The actual “hatch” of adult flies off the water can at times be very sparse and hard to come across; but targeting these flies in their nymphal stage can be rewarding to the angler who is experienced enough to fish these patterns.
In most cases these flies are tied with weight added to the underbody of the fly to aid in weighing down the fly, but adding a split shot or two to the leader line will help get the fly down deep fast in even the fastest of currents. Another helpful hint is to incorporate some sort of indicator system when using this nymph pattern in the fast current. Since the fly will be moving along the bottom at a good pace it will be very hard to tell when fish are taking the fly by the line alone. This fly should be fished with an upstream and across presentation that has the fly drifting near the bottom drag-free for long stretches or runs of the river. As the fly proceeds to drift downstream a few timely mends of the line will be necessary to keep the fly riding deep and in the strike zone. Takes can come at any time during the drift so do not get lulled to sleep near the end of a long drift and lose a trophy fish by not paying attention.
Start this fly by placing your hook into the vise securely and take a few turns of lead free weight around the hook shank
Attach the thread behind the hook eye and wrap down the weight onto the hook so that it can not slide around on the hook shank. Clip and stack a small portion of deer hair and tie it in for the tail of the fly. The tail should be approximately the same size as the hook gape. At this point do not clip the excess moose hair simply just cover it with thread so that it stays out of your way for the proceeding tying steps.
Tie in a small section of copper wire extending off of the back of the hook shank to be used to rib the lower body of the fly later. Pinch dub the thread with the black haretron dubbing and slowly build a tapering abdomen toward the front of the fly. Stop dubbing the body just after the 1/2 point of the hook shank. Wrap the copper wire forward up the tapered body in the opposite direction that you dubbed the body. This will help the ribbing stay on top of the body of the fly and hold the body tightly in place.
Pull the tag ends of the moose hair backwards towards the rear of the fly and again pinch dub the thread. This time you are dubbing a thorax for the fly that should be thick and round but try to keep it proportional to the rest of the body you have already dubbed. After you have created the dubbed thorax pull the moose fibers forward over the top of the thorax to create a curved wing case for the fly.
Select four to five of the moose fibers and pull the back along side of the fly and trim the rest off the head of the fly. With a few rearward wraps of thread tie the moose fibers in place along side the thorax of the fly. Clip the moose fibers so that they are approximately the same length as the wing case. Form a small neat head then whip finish and cement.