Pat Dorsey, the illustrious South Platte River guide, popularized the Black Beauty in recent years. The Black Beauty is the ultimate guide fly; quick and easy to tie, durable and the thing catches fish. The Black Beauty is the basis for a number of other patterns with just slight differences. Tie it with white thread and a black or gray dubbed or marker colored head and you’ve got a Miracle Nymph, add a silver bead, substitute silver wire for the rib and you have a Zebra Midge, red thread and no head makes a Blood Midge. You get the idea, a simple thread body ribbed with wire for segmentation and flash and a small dubbed head combine to match a variety of midge larva. You can tie up a complete size and color range to match midges anywhere using this fly as a pattern and varying the colors. Don’t forget to tie some with small metal or glass bead heads, too. I have included pictures of my favorite versions at the end of the tying directions with recipes included.
I use the Black Beauty and other thread midges on a dropper behind a Pheasant Tail or RS-II much of the time and in tandem with a Brassie or Poison Tung during the winter months. This fly is particularly successful on tail waters and holds it’s own on freestone rivers during low water periods and the winter.
Hook: TMC 2487 or 2488, #16-24
Thread/Body: Black UTC 70 Denier (the 70 denier makes a really shiny, smooth body and builds quickly; it works great down to about a size twenty-two but is a little too big for flies smaller than that) or 8/0 Black.
Rib: Extra fine (#22-28) or fine (#16-20) copper wire.
Head: Black beaver or rabbit dubbing.
Attach the thread at the rear of the index point and clip any butt end you may have. Leave the thread hanging at the rear edge of the index point, DO NOT move the thread to the bend.
Clip a six-inch length of wire and tie it in at the rear edge of the index point. There should only be a small layer of thread on the hook at the index area, not all the way down the shank.
Wrap the tying thread over the wire (keeping the wire along the near side OR the top of the hook) all the way to the bend of the hook forming a smooth, even body. In the case of the Tiemco 2487 (curved scud style hook) wrap the thread body back to about a third of the way down the bend (consult the picture above if you still have questions).
Return the thread to the rear of the index point forming a smooth thread body with tight, concentric wraps and let the bobbin hang.
Wrap the wire ribbing forward with five to seven spiraling turns to the index point. Once there, grasp the end of the wire in your thread hand and hold it above and slightly in front of the hook. With your other hand take the bobbin and make three or four tight wraps of thread over the long end of the wire where it meets the hook (which should be at the rear of the index point).
Pull down on the bobbin below the hook and give the tag end of the wire a sharp tug to the rear, which should snap it off cleanly at the tie down point. If the wire wont break off easily you are probably using wire that is too big. Re-position the hook in the vise so the front end is now more parallel to the floor. This will keep the thread from sliding off the front end of the hook as you continue.
Pull a small amount of dubbing from the package and apply a bit of dubbing wax to your fingertips. Twist a one-inch length of dubbing onto the thread being sure to keep it tight. Wrap this dubbing onto the hook from the rear edge of the index point, slightly up onto the body, and forward again to just behind the hook eye, ending with bare thread hanging at the index point.
Whip finish in the index point and clip the thread.
Here we have most of a Miracle Nymph. Now I know that the original was tied with white floss over black thread and that there is a certain mystique around the coloration of the floss and thread combo, BUT, I have always tied my Miracles with a simple thread body, and am happy to report that not only are they thinner, more durable and more midge larva-like, but the fish seem to like them better as well. Just because someone else says that’s the way to do it doesn’t mean the fish care one bit.
Complete the body and rib (white thread and copper wire) as you did for the Black Beauty. Once at the index point with the thread, color a few inches of the tying thread between the tip of the bobbin and the hook with a black permanent marker.
Wrap the colored thread around the hook in the index point forming a slightly bulbous head. Be sure to leave enough colored thread to whip finish the fly.
Whip finish and clip the thread.
White thread body (70 denier), copper wire rib, black marker colored thread head.
Silver tungsten or brass bead (2mm), black thread body, silver wire rib and small black dubbed head.
Keep the dubbed head no larger than the diameter of the bead.
Olive Thread Midge.
Olive 6/0 thread body, black Super-Hair rib, olive brown beaver dubbing head.
Blood Midge/ Bloodworm
Red 70 denier thread body, silver wire rib, bulbous red thread head.
Insect green 6/0 thread body, copper wire rib, black colored thread head.
Mercury Black Beauty
Extra small mercury (glass) bead, black 70-denier thread body, copper wire rib, black dubbed head.