The Teeny Nymph was developed by Jim Teeny in may of 1962. It was introduced to the world in July 1971, when the flies became commercially available. Jim Teeny states that he has not fished with any other fly (other than different versions of the teeny nymph) since that time! That is quite a claim! This versatile fly and its variations have been used to catch cold water, salt water, and warm water fish all over the world.
What makes this fly unique is that it is constructed with only one material. It is made entirely of the fibers off the tail of a ringneck pheasant. It is a very simple fly to tie. The hardest part of the process is gauging the length of the pheasant tail fibers. The idea is to use fibers just long enough to create the body and have just enough material left to form the legs. When you first attempt to tie this nymph handling the pheasant tail near the eye of the hook can be a little frustrating at times. You need to handle this material with your fingers as I find hackle pliers damage the tips of the pheasant tail. Damaged tips may not mean anything to the fish but I don't like the way they look. I have often heard the comment that the fly looks like it was tied by a twelve-year-old, well it was! As the story goes, Jim was about that age when he first developed the fly. Twelve years old or not it is a fish catching machine.
The original version of the pattern called for natural ringneck pheasant. Next, the nymph developed into leech imitations that are tied with a tail and finally double versions for larger flies. The fly is now offered in a host of colors from natural hues to bright fluorescent colors. The fly is always tied unweighted and to get the fly down Jim developed his own line of sinking fly lines.
I have fished these nymphs in cold water for trout and salmon for many years. It was only a matter of time before one ended up in a warm water box. It became an instant success as a useful pattern for bluegill and other panfish. Although the larger double style flies would be productive for larger fish like bass, I seldom fish them. In warm water, I tend to stick to the standard pattern and the leech version and use them to target panfish primarily. The leech version is merely a teeny nymph with a tail. I fish them in sizes 8-14 in more natural tones like olive, black, brown and natural. One word about thread color. Jim Teeny is a big fan of contrasting colored thread heads. The standard color is white for most of the nymphs. The bright nymphs have brightly colored contrasting heads. I tie them both ways, with contrasting heads and with more natural looking matching heads. I do like the contrasting heads for sight fishing. The white head is easy to spot in the water.
How To Fish Them
I fish these flies the same way I use other nymph patterns; there is nothing unusual about the way I fish them. I like to impart a little movement to my nymphs. I’ll cast to likely looking structure, let the fly sink and retrieve the pattern with subtle rod twitches and/or a slow hand twist retrieve. Since these flies are not weighted I will use a sinking fly line or leader to get the fly down to the fish if they are holding deep. All of the fish pictured in this post were caught towards the end of February and were found in deeper water, so a fast sinking leader on a floating fly line was used to keep the fly near the bottom.