Wolfram - The Fly Anglers 'Early-Season' Friend

Wolfram (aka Tungsten)

With the river season fast approaching (there are only about 6 weeks to wait - depending on where you are in the country). I thought it would be a good idea to turn your gaze away from Grayling for a minute and look forward to targeting trout again - specifically early-season trout when the water is usually cold and high!

Targetting trout in these conditions usually means 2 things:

  1. You will be using nymphs; and
  2. They will need to be heavy

That usually means nymphs equipped with Tungsten beads. Tungsten is most commonly found in lightbulb filaments, but fly anglers have used one of its properties to our advantage - tungsten is a very dense mineral and when powdered and formed into beads (usually by metal injection moulding) they can weigh up to four times that of the same sized brass bead.

Before I get onto the nymphs themselves - and which ones to use - a little History & Chemistry lesson is in order ...

When you look up the element Tungsten in the periodic table, you will see it has the symbol 'W'. This is due to the element historically being known by two different names - Wolfram & Tungsten, officially the name Wolfram was dropped in 2005.

The name 'Wolfram' comes from a different mineral, wolframite, which also has a high content of the element we now call tungsten. Wolfram is believed to be derived from the German for 'wolf's foam'. Many centuries ago mid-European tin smelters observed that when a certain mineral was present in the tin ore, their yield of tin was much reduced. They called this mineral 'wolf's foam' because, they said, it devoured the tin much like a wolf would devour a sheep!

Whereas, the word Tungsten is derived from the old Swedish name for 'heavy stone', a name given to a known tungsten-containing mineral.

Tungsten is the name which has now stuck - I'm not too worried about what it's called, all I know is that fishing in the early season would be much more difficult without it!

As well as its obvious weight advantage, the real properties which make tungsten ideal for nymphs are:

  • Its Compact Size: Tungsten beads are small and can be used to add weight without significantly increasing the overall size of the fly. This is particularly important in smaller nymphs, where imitating natural insect sizes is crucial for success.
  • Its Versatility: Tungsten beads are available in various sizes, shapes, and colours, providing fly tyers with a wide range of options to create different nymph patterns. This versatility allows us to match the specific characteristics of the insects we are trying to imitate.
  • Improved Sensitivity: The density of tungsten allows for better sensitivity when fishing nymphs and other subsurface patterns. We can more easily detect subtle takes or changes in the behaviour of the nymph, leading to increased hook-up rates.
  • Their Consistency: Tungsten beads are known for their consistency in size and weight, providing a reliable option for fly tyers. This consistency helps maintain the balance and performance of the nymph in the water.

Generally, when targeting trout in the early season, keep in mind the following:

  • The faster and deeper the river, the heavier the nymph
  • Target the area behind any type of structure in the water (think boulders, bridge supports & weed beds)
  • Where allowed, it’s better to fish a team of flies (spiders) in the early season, with the heaviest fly on the point.

I've put the first point above in bold, as it's the most important part.

So, which nymph patterns should be your first choice?

Our most successful Tungsten Nymphs ever!

We've just received a delivery of our most popular (and successful) tungsten nymphs in all sizes - ideal for any 'early season' conditions you will face when the season starts:

The selections below all contain patterns from our most popular tungsten nymph selection, in sizes ranging from 10  (Jumbo) to 18 (Micro) - click on any image or button below to see the full details:

These are the first nymphs I use in the early season. Each of the above Tungsten Nymph Selections contain the following patterns in various sizes:

  • Red-Neck Pheasant Tail Nymph
  • Copper Pheasant Tail Mary 
  • Olive Quill Nymph
  • Orange-Head Pheasant Tail Mary
  • Hare's Ear Nymph 

The various configurations are:

Click any image or button in this email to go directly to the nymphs.

*** Stock up on these while you can, they always sell out fast! ***

Go on ... fill your boots - and your early season fly boxes - we've only limited quantities of these so grab yours whilst you still can!

Tight lines