THE NELSON TABLE

The Nelson Table is named after the originator of the concept, Dick Nelson, who is the namesake of the Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award and was the 1987 Buszek Award recipient. As the designer of the fly tying class you will have to find a set of flies that introduce, use, or provide skill development for the techniques you are teaching. The purpose of the table is to help a tying class instructor analyze a set of fly patterns in terms of:

1. The skills each pattern

a. requires

b. teaches

2. How well the patterns

a. reinforce

b. build on the previous skills learned

and,

3. If a full range of fly tying techniques is covered

 

When you have chosen a set of flies and analized them using the Nelson Table, you should be able to see if all your chosen techniques are covered and will readily point out a missing technique. The tool's analysis capability is not perfect, and its usefullness will partly depend on the skill with which you build the table. It is another tool you can use to help find a good set of teaching patterns that covers your course requirements. The exact flies chosen depend on many factors: the class's geographic location, the student's skill level, the taste and talent of the instructor, etc. We hope you will give this tool a try to help you make the best choice possible for your class fly patterns. List the techniques you plan to include in your course across the top. List the fly patterns your are considering along the verticle column on the left. You might leave the decision about what day the fly fits into until you see how the order of difficulty on the techniques plays out.

 

 

TECHNIQUE
jam knot
thread base
tail tie in
hackle wrapping
half hitch
whip finnish
soft hackle
dry hackle
wings
dubbing
DAY
Fly Pattern
One
Wooly Bugger
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Two
Wooly Worm
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Green Rockworm
x
x
x
x
x
Three
Deer Hair Caddis
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Soft Hackle
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Four
Adams
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
etc
Five
.
.

 

The list of techniques in the above table is only a partial list of techniques. The selection is appropriate for a beginners class in trout fly tying in the west. You can distinguish between palmer hackling, collar hackling, and throat hackling. Ribbing techniques is not mentioned in the above list but certainly is a part of several of the patterns. Those techniques in the table above is for an example. You would need to make a complete list of the techniques you want to teach in the beginning course. With only a limited number of days availale for the class course, selection of the right flies for the class to work on becomes very important. With experience, you will find you will have to really narrow down the list of techniques you can adequately cover in a four or five day/evening class. Give the table a try. It can help in planning and giving you an idea of how well you are covering the content you expect to cover.

 

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