How to Tie: Graffam’s Hustler Soft Hackle Euro Nymph

In this week’s “How to Tie” video feature, Fly Fish Food gives us a great tutorial on how to tie the Graffam’s Hustler Soft Hackle Euro Nymph.

Learn About This Fly:

Difficulty: Novice

The Hustler is a Umpqua fly tied by Josh Graffam that was created to imitate most if not all mayfly nymphs. This is a very simple but effective pattern that will surely get down quickly. History proves that a simple Hare’s Ear nymph is one of the best flies for all anglers. The Hustler is basically a Hare’s Ear on steroids.

The beauty of this fly is the versatility. Depending on the water you are planning to fish, you can tie these flies as light or as heavy as you would like. This fly was originally tied using offset beads to reach maximum depths but in this case a slotted bead will work perfectly. Adding soft hackle to a typical nymph pattern can be a game changer. The soft hackle acts as a casing and accurately imitates an emerging nymph.

Typically soft hackle flies are tied with saddle hackle or other varieties of hackles. The Hustler is tied using a CDC loop. While CDC loops can be achieved without tools, having CDC clamps and loop spinners are very beneficial. CDC also adds a very life-like and natural appearance to a nymph. The fibers “flutter” in the current as the fly moves through the water column. Sulky is used for an added flashy wrap which adds a subtle yet necessary effect to the thorax of the Hustler. Sulky works very well, but thin wire wraps are also proven to be just as effective. Have fun with this fly and add your touch. Try lighter and darker hackles and various wrapping materials until you find what works for you.


  • Hook: Umpqua XC400BL-BN – 14
  • Thread: Veevus Fly Tying Thread – Black – 14/0
  • Bead: Fasna Offset Tungsten Beads – 2.8 mm – Gold
  • Bead Alternate: Fulling Mill Slotted Tungsten Beads – 3.2mm – Gold
  • Tail: Whiting Coq De Leon Euro Nymph Tailing Pack – Dark Pardo
  • Body: Hareline Dubbin – Hare’s Ear
  • Body Alternate: SLF Spikey Squirrel Dubbing – Natural Fox
  • Rib: Sulky Metallic Tinsel – Opalescent
  • Collar: Fly Fish Food “Duck Butt” CDC – Dark Gray Dun
  • Collar Alternate: Nature’s Spirit CDC – Medium Slate Dun
  • Head: Ice Dub – Peacock Black

Now you know how to tie the Graffam’s Hustler Soft Hackle Euro Nymph.

Video and Ingredients courtesy of Fly Fish Food.

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