The San Juan Worm (miscellaneous nymphs)
from Skip Morris' book, "The Art of Tying the Nymph, 1993"
This is another of those flies that everyone seems to talk about, tie, and fish, but nobody seems sure as to exactly how it's tied. The method shown here is my favorite, but you will see plenty of others.
Rick Hafele, professional entomologist and fly-fishing author, tells me that the San Juan worm imitates an aquatic species of earthworm that is quite common. Its appearance is very close to that of the standard backyard earthworm-which may well explain the deadliness of the oft-mentioned boy with a bamboo stalk, a few feet of fishing line, and a worm on a hook. The San Juan Worm is often tied in red, but Rick says that the naturals are more of a brown or reddish brown.
These worms don't swim, so they should be fished dead drift.
San Juan Worm
Heavy wire, regular shank (I prefer a humped shank), sizes 16 to 8 (the hook shown is a Gamakatsu F-22THREAD:
3/0 in a color to match the Ultra Chenille or Vemille; for small hooks, 8/0 or 6/0 can be substituted.EVERYTHING ELSE:
Red, brown, or reddish-brown Ultra Chenille or Vernille
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1. Start the thread at the rear of the shank (this takes a bit of guesswork on humped shanks, but an approximation is all that is required). Tie a length of vernille at the rear of the shank with a slim band of tight thread tums. The end of the vemille should extend back from its tie-in point about a shank's length. Lift the Vemille, and advance the thread to midshank.
2. Secure the Vernille at midshank with another slim thread band. Lift the Vernille and advance the thread again.
3. Secure the Vernille with a thread band again, right behind the eye. Whip finish and trim the thread on the last band. Trim the vernille so that it extends forward from its tie-in point about a shank's length.
4. Singe the ends of the Vernille with a flame to keep them from unraveling. Add head cement to the thread band at the eye.