Black Bandit Nymph from John Morton by John Hey

Black bandit nymph.
Black bandit nymph.
Black Bandit nymph
From the top: 1. Pull back fibres and tie onto hook. 2. Take one strand of peacock herl and wind to middle, then add appendages. 3. Tie in pheasant tail wing case with tips over eye of hook. Divide and figure eight tie off. 4. Wind three peacock herls to eye then back to middle. Wind thread to eye over herl. Pull wing case over. Lastly tie-off.

Black Bandit Nymph

Through my career in selling sports goods, particularly fishing tackle, I have met some very innovative fly tiers, the best of them being John Morton. Many a time he would do a fly tying demo, and while they were meant for the customers, I would keep a close eye on what this master was creating, and over the years I have not only improved my fly tying, but added much of John’s wizardry to my fly box.

One of his patterns line my fly box like little soldiers. It’s a nymph called the Black Bandit. It even sounds like it was made to ambush a wary fish. I tie the nymph on long shank hooks. This differs slightly from the original sizes 10 to 14. The tail is a black rooster hackle from the neck, with the fibres pulled back on the stem and then tied on to the hook. This is a little tricky. The remaining tip of the feather is cut off, leaving two or three strands on each side of the main stem to imitate setate.

Tie in one strand of peacock herl and wind halfway up the hook. At this stage tie in on each side two tips of herl about 5 or 6 mm long. Then tie in hen pheasant tail with the tips extended over the front of the hook. Wind the thread over the strands to the front of the hook, making sure to keep them held on top.

Next divide the tips in half and tie in with figure eight binding. Take the thread back to the start of the wing case. Now tie in three strands of peacock herl and wind them together to form a thorax and tie off back at the centre of the wing case. Now wind the thread through the thorax to the eye of the hook, pull the wing cases over and tie off and cement.

Black bandit nymph.
Black bandit nymph.

I have fished this pattern on windy days down in Lake Benmore , casting a long line and walking with the wind. I fish it with a wool indicator as it’s not easy to detect the take.

The most exciting day’s fishing I recall with this nymph, was a warm summer’s day at Lake Lyndon. I was working my way across the northern end. I started at the fence and was casting and letting the breeze drift the line parallel to the shore. I had just recast and taken up the slack and was looking around at general goings-on of the other fisherpersons, when I nearly had my rod torn from my grip. I thought the fish were having a race and one got caught on my nymph, but no, snug in the corner of his mouth was my nymph. Particularly on windy days I have had many trout hook themselves, so take your time and tie a few of these nymphs for your next trip.