Twenty-Incher: Is it the One?

In search of a nymph pattern that stacks up to my go-to fly.

Twenty-Incher. Photo: Ben Rowell

We all have one. It’s the fly we always tie on first thing in the morning. It’s the one fly that when not working, we think nothing else will. It’s the one fly we use when stepping into new water. Simply put, it’s our go-to fly.

Kory Murdoch introduced me to my go-to fly four years ago. It works so well I tie at least four dozen during the winter, knowing that if I’m fishing the right spot (snags), I’ll easily lose six in an afternoon. In fact, I have a fly box dedicated to this one fly pattern. My go-to fly is… 

Nope, I’m not telling you what my go-to fly is. But after tying hundreds of my go-to fly over the past few years, I’ve decided to try something different.

I flipped through Charlie Craven’s new book, Tying Nymphs: Essential Flies and Techniques for the Top Patterns, to see if Craven had a nymph pattern I have all the materials to tie. After reviewing the recipe and techniques involved, I settled on the Twenty-Incher.

Tying Nymphs by Charlie Craven

The Twenty-Incher stonefly originated in western Colorado, but from all accounts is a pattern that works anywhere stoneflies are present. While the fly has more steps and materials than my go-to pattern, which is also a nymph, it is still a relatively easy pattern to tie. There are a few tying videos online, but I find that the detail in Charlie Craven’s step-by-step instructions to be better than anything else out there.

Step-by-step for the Twenty-Incher.

So this spring I’ll hit all the usual holes and runs that my go-to pattern always produces in, but this time I’ll tie on the Twenty-Incher and see how it measures up. Look for a follow up post in the late spring.

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