Split tails for nymphs

I've recently tied up about a dozen Prince Nymphs along with some sowbugs, both of which involve a split tail biot pair. I've been doing this, somewhat un-gracefully, for years but have never quite gotten it right. What I'm currently doing is laying the biots one at a time on top of the hook at the angle I want them to stay, then lay the thread over them as good as I can without changing their positions, and tie them down. Most of the time, they completely shift and either move together forming one tail, or they will both change to different angles of their own with one pointed up, and the other pointed down. Is there a trick to tying in those biots so that they split out as perfectly as they do in the pictures and fly shops? Here's an example of the way I just can't seem to make them look:

<img src="http://www.smokymountainflyguide.com/images/nymphs/LittleRiverPrince.jpg">

Any ideas or tips would be appreciated.

steve s

Active Member
Wrap a thread base to keep the biots from slipping. Tie one biot on each side of the hook, you can tie them one at a time or at the same time. The wraps on the biots will usually flare them out or you can make a few wraps under the biots to flare them out. I think that the most important thing is to keep the biots from slipping and tying them on a bare hook or on top of each other can cause them to slip.
Hope this helps.



Active Member
I make a little thread ball at the end of the hook and then tie the biots in on the sides of the hook as opposed to the top. The thread ball will get them to flare and tying them in on the side will prevent the shifting problem that you are having.

Thanks guys! I'll try those ideas. I'm wondering if maybe my problem also might be that I'm using turkey biots rather than goose biots, so they're not as firm and therefore might not hold their shape as well.


Active Member

As Steve S mentioned, putting a thread base down before tying in the biots ( or for that matter, any material) is the key to keeping them in position and preventing them from sliding around the hook. Also, when you tie in each biot for the tail, you only need 2 or at most 3 wraps of thread to hold them in place (provided you put the thread base down first). And by tying them in place with only a 2 or 3 wraps of thread, if they are slighly out of place, simply use your thumb nail to move them.

After they are in position, make another 3 or 4 thread wraps to completely lock them in. Usually, these extra locking wraps of thread are done as you tie in the ribbing. Not only does this keep bulk down, it results in a very strong fly and increased tying speed since you use fewer thread wraps.