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The Cab Nymph

You can do more with a good bottle of wine than just drink it. Use it to tie flies!

[by Jay “Fishy” Fullum]

Since I was a kid, I’ve created a variety of poppers and panfish flies from old cork stoppers. Recently, after opening a fine bottle of cabernet sauvignon, I picked up the foil that had been around the top and turned to drop it into the trash. After giving the foil one last look, I flattened it out on the countertop. A day later, I was at the vise enjoying the challenge of tying a fly using another unique material.

The foil has a layer of very thin plastic between the outer layers, and it is very light and strong. Other colors are sometimes available, but cab red, gold, and black are the most common. Other bottled products also use foil tops; check your kitchen cupboard for ideas. Some bottles are covered with thin plastic, so I tried it, too. The plastic is also very strong and works well for tying a fly.

I’ve tied the Cab Nymph using a variety of colored foils and plastic tops, and liked all the different patterns. Although the foil body is very light, it breaks the water tension and causes the fly to drop quickly below the surface. If you prefer a faster sink rate, replace the fur underbody with fine nontoxic wire.

This foil is a very user-friendly material and can be used for making a variety of fishable patterns. I enjoyed experimenting with this unique ingredient, and I suggest that you give it a try, too.


Jay “Fishy” Fullum has shared his unusual materials and tying techniques in this magazine for more than 20 years. Fishy is a favorite lecturer and instructor, and regularly appears at fly fishing shows and clubs across the United States. For more information or to contact him, go to www.fishyfullum.com.