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Japanese Nymph Legs
Posted 30 May 2005 - 10:08 PM
Well, OK, you asked for it, but Iím going to try and have some fun with this as well. Letís start with a 10xl long hook and tye more than six legs, wonít be an insect, so Iíll call it a Bully Bugger.
You might be asking; what are Japanese Nymph Legs. As far as I know they are very thin strips of plastic impregnated with silicone. Very similar to the plastics used in model cars and airplanes. The plastic can be bent quite easily with a hot bodkin, needle or tweezers. Once bent they hold their position well, and are remarkably strong. There is an art form in Japan where skilled hands and a hot needle transform these little plastic strips in Samurai solders, with helmets and swords. Using this product for fly tying is much easier, just a couple simple bends and they look good.
1. First step making this fly was coloring and tying on two pieces of 2mm foam strips, as well as an underbody of medium Chenille.
2. Here three individual Japanese Nymph Leg shafts are tyed on together, under the hook shank, with three tight wraps of thread over and across, then three wraps over and behind, to keep the legs perpendicular to the hook.
3. Using a heated Bodkin tip, all three leg shaft pieces are easily bent. I use a Bic lighter and hold the Bodkin tip in the flame for one or two seconds, then put the tip on the legs and push the legs in the desired direction. Heating the tip too hot will burn right through the legs, severing them off.
4. Here I bend the legs again, trying for a ready to hop or jump position, and then covered them with my 8/0 tying thread. Spinning the Bobbin in a counter clockwise direction, beyond enough to flatten the thread, makes the thread much easier to control and keeps it from looping off of the legs.
This will be the only set of legs with thread on them.
5. To start coloring the legs, they were quickly touched with a Pantone permanent marker, and then Softex (or Flexament) is painted on the legs using a bodkin tip, to seal the thread into place.
6. Painting over the legs with Acrylic canvas varnish, colored with a drop or two of pearlescent pigments, allows for building up the shape, and depth of color. The varnish mix is semi-transparent when dry.
7. Using three more Japanese Nymph Leg shafts, a second set of legs are tyed onto the hook.
8. The legs are bent using a heated bodkin tip.
9. Two sections are trimmed off each leg, with each cut right above a bent joint. This will allow for a tapered leg.
10. Instead of using thread to bind the pieces together, Softex was applied with a Bodkin tip and the pieces were glued together. Often the legs need to be held in position for about 20 seconds until the glue sets.
11. The legs are colored with a marker and a layer of colored varnish.
12. Two more sets of legs are tyed on.
13. Legs are bent into position.
14. Legs are trimmed, glued with Softex and colored with marker and varnish mix
15. A halogen tying lamp allows for rapid drying of varnish mix.
16. The Bully Bugger is starting to take shape. The front legs will have small claws, more coloring needs to be done to the entire fly. It will hopefully look cool when I finish it and post a final picture.
I told you I was going to have fun with this.
When tying Mayflies only one single shaft of Japanese Nymph Leg is needed for each set of legs. Itís much easier and faster using only one shaft per leg and the methods I use for bending and coloring are the same. The Acrylic varnish mix is thick enough to allow for adding some definition and shape. Itís useful to note that flies fished on the surface will sink if the foam is coated with varnish. For foam dry flies, to be fished, I just use permanent markers for body and leg coloration.
I hope this is helpful,
Posted 30 May 2005 - 10:41 PM
Thanks Graham, that thing looks wicked.
Posted 31 May 2005 - 04:38 AM
By the way, great Bully Bugger!!!
Posted 31 May 2005 - 04:48 AM
Posted 31 May 2005 - 10:31 AM
I need to mention that there are other, more realistic ways to use Japanese Nymph Legs. I tye mine the quickest way that satisfies me, painting the legs. Some tyers, such as Paul Whillock, tye a goose biot over the bent legs, or wrap a thin strip of Swiss Straw (raffia) over the product to create a realistic tapered leg. I have seen other tyers slip the product through a short, hollowed out porcupine quill, then tye it under the hook, for a nice tapered leg. The same can be done with plastic wire insulation. There are probably countless new ways to use this product to make insect legs. It's fun to play around with.
Posted 31 May 2005 - 11:11 AM
Posted 31 May 2005 - 02:38 PM
I see you are from the Netherlands. The link Graham posted is indeed the right one. It is your ISP that is giving you trouble. I have had several friends from your side of the pond experience the same thing. And most were from the Netherlands. For example a friend Steve Thornton can't access the page from his home in the UK but another friend Paul Whillock can no problem. And after lengthy examination the problem is on that end.
If you are still interested drop me an Email at:
Posted 02 June 2005 - 06:36 PM
Posted 03 June 2005 - 03:43 PM
I have also used the Japanese Nymph legs with much success, and you are correct, there are many uses. I appreciate you tips on coloring etal. One approach I have learned is to color ( one can experiment with light thin strokes of color and/or "small dots of color" then applying a coating solution. Repeating this process with extremely light/thin layers of coating adds a touch of translucency/depth to the finish leg....much the same as finishing a piece of furniture to achieve that deep satin look...
tight lines, Vince
Posted 07 December 2015 - 01:40 AM
Can someone please post a link for a site where they buy their Japanese nymph legs?
Posted 11 December 2015 - 03:57 PM
Dale at Virtual Nymph has them, as do Deer Creek (both UK suppliers), and Dave Hise at Casters Fly Shop which may be the best source your over the big pond.
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