Booby nymphs were designed by British fly-fisherman and fly tier Gordon Fraze. He used a standard marabou tailed nymph pattern and added two polystyrene balls tied behind the eye of the hook to add buoyancy to his new fly and called it the Booby Nymph.
BOOBY NYMPHS Hook size 10 - $US each
Frazer's Booby Nymph design went on to establish a whole new genre of fly patterns know as Boobies. Gordon wanted to design a fly with built in buoyancy that he could suspend at a fixed depth below the water surface close. He wanted to be able to add and take off weight to the line to be able to find the feeding zone of the local trout. Once found he would be able to stick at that depth.
In winter trout eat fry, baby juvenile fish. Use a white or olive colored booby. When fishing the Booby as a fry imitation use a retrieve, pause, retrieve, pause movement to imitate the darting nature of the real juvenile fish looking for food and avoiding predators. On the pause the fly floats upwards. When you start the next retrieve the fly darts downward again. It is a very clever but such a simple design. The booby eyes can be tied in two different ways. The original method which we still use involves trimming foam into two balls and encasing them in fine nylon mesh before tying them onto the fly. We use ladies pantyhose as a source for the mesh. A more recent fly tying method is to use a length of foam tubing tied in the middle. They work. It is quicker but have you ever seen a woman with breast that are that shape? They can’t really be called boobies now can they?
How do you fly fish with the Washing Line rig?
Many fly fishermen have heard about the successful 'washing line' set up but do not know how to use it or how it works.
If you are fishing on lakes, reservoirs, lochs or fjords where the use of more than on fly is allowed then the washing line method of fishing will normally out fish other nymph fishing methods by three fish to one.
I have put this to the test time and time again when fishing with a friend. He will use a weighted nymph as a point fly that pulls the leader down vertically and allows the other two nymphs on droppers to swim with the current at different depths.
This method is great for searching where in the water column the fish are feeding but if you find they are feeding in or near the surface then the Washing line rig becomes more productive because it has the ability to place three flies at the same depth horizontally unlike the other vertical method.
As a point fly you need a nymph which is buoyant not weighted: this is the major difference between the two systems. The most popular fly used by most fishermen is the Booby Nymph. Suspender Nymphs also work well. Your two other nymphs dangle down on droppers from the main horizontal line like clothes on a washing line.
You can control the depth the flies fish at by selecting a nymph that has large or small foam balls. If the fish are feeding just under the surface then use a Booby Nymph with two large foam balls.
If the fish are feeding between 1-2 feet below the surface then use a Booby Nymph with two small sized foam balls. If they are feeding between 2-4 feet below the surface tie on a suspender Buzzer as a point fly as it only has one foam ball. The type of fly line, leader and hook size can also influence the depth the flies fish.
When you retrieve the cast it will feel a little strange at first, almost as if there is some weed on the line due to the water resistance created by the foam balls on top of the booby Nymph.
When fishing with Booby Nymphs some fly fishermen get tangles in their fly line due to the fly twisting in the water. It is a common problem. It can pay to fish with a fairly stiff leader. This will reduce the problem somewhat but unfortunately not totally.
If you are boat fishing take off your leader and trail your fly line behind the boat when motoring back up the drift. This will usually eradicate the line twist. However if you are on the bank take off the leader and cast and retrieve on the grass several times. This will give a similar effect.
When fishing with a nymphs on a Washing line Rig takes can be savage so be prepared.
I like to use a Cortland 444 type 6 black sinking line when nymph flyfishing. I find the White Booby nymph can be very effective as the large white eyes have water-moving qualities that can attract trout that may not have spotted the fly in dark peat stained lake or reservoir margins. I will fish a single booby over shallow water but remember to keep the leader short at two to four feet. If your leader is too long the booby fly will be almost at the surface. I also fish two boobies over deeper water to cover a range of depth options. Another advantage is that flooded margins can be full of snags and if you are losing a lot of flies on the bottom a buoyant booby on a short leader will constantly ride over the snags - James Weatherhead