The Pheasant Tail Nymph

Posted by Steve Galea at

The photo above shows one of the most successful nymph patterns ever created, the pheasant tail nymph.The venerable pattern was developed by English river keeper Frank Sawyer. This is a North American version of it, which has refinements such as legs and a thorax made of peacock herl. The original had a copper wire thorax and no legs.

The one pictured above is in size 12 and tied by yours truly. It's not textbook perfect but it will certainly catch fish all day long. 

Affectionately known by fly anglers as the PT nymph, these flies are relatively easy to tie and highly effective. They are a good generic pattern that imitates the nymphal stage of many may flies.  You should have a few different sizes in your fly box. And it doesn't hurt to modify the pattern a bit too with weight or hot spots on the thorax.

The recipe is as follows:

Hook: Nymph hook in sizes 10 to 18 or so.

Thread: 6/0 or finer (I used 18/0 Nano-Silk)

Ribbing: Copper wire (the smaller the fly, the finer

Tail: Pheasant tail fibres

Body: Pheasant tail fibres

Wing case and legs: Pheasant tail fibres

Thorax: Peacock herl

This is old school for certain but the pattern has stood the test of time because it works. Make sure you are well stocked. 





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