A fun little twist on a classic. I tend to keep both traditional and flashback Pheasant Tail nymphs in my box at all times. Sometimes I find I can get more hits on the flashback, but I find it hard to believe it makes that much difference. With the being such a simple addon to the pattern it seems a little silly not to have them in the end.
- Size 14 2x long Nymph Hook
- 70 Denier Thread – Brown
- 2.7mm (7/64th) Tungsten Bead
- Natural Pheasant Tail Fibers
- Peacock Herl
- Opal Tinsel, Medium
- Gold Wire, Small
- .15 Lead Wire
- UV Resin
1. Place a 2.7mm (7/64th inch) bead on the hook and secure the hook in the vice. Take 12 turns of .15 lead wire around the shank and push the wire up into the bead. Then start the thread right behind the lead wire and build a small ramp to keep the lead wire pushed against the bead. Take some wraps over the lead wire and then finish at the end of the shank, right before the bend.
2. Pull approximately 10 fibers straight from the stem of a ringtail pheasant feather. Cut them from the stem while holding all the tips even. Secure the fibers to the top of the shank just over the barb with two loose wraps. With the loose wraps in place you can pull the fibers to adjust the length. You are aiming for around a shank length, but can also adjust to personal preference. When you are happy with the length add one more snug wrap and then wrap in front of the fibers up to the bead to secure the tail in place. Do not wrap down the excess pheasant tail.
3. Place a 10cm (4 inch) length of small gold wire along the shank of the hook with the end tucked into the bead. Take thread wraps down the shank securing it into place. Do not trap and pheasant tail fibers and wrap all the way down to where the tail is being secured into place. Also secure a 5cm (2 inch) length of medium opal tinsel at the end of the shank. The easiest way to do this is just get a light wrap over the material near the middle and then pull it back to just the end and secure with a snug wrap or two.
4. Wrap the pheasant tail fibers up the shank of the hook. The first wrap will have to be wrapped slightly backwards in order to cover the wraps used to hold it and the other materials in place.
5. While holding the opal tinsel over the back of the fly take wraps with the wire in the opposite direction that you wound the pheasant tail fibers. Stop trapping the tinsel about a beads length before the bead, but wrap the wire to the bead and secure it with the thread. Remove the excess wire from the fly. By wrapping the wire in the opposite direction of the pheasant tail it helps to reinforce the fibers, thus hopefully improving the longevity of the fly.
6. Using the same method as the tail, removed 14 – 16 fibers for the pheasant tail feather. With the tips aligned secure the fibers to the hook right behind the bead with the fibers facing forward. Again, using just two light wraps at first so the length can be adjusted. I try to make them just long enough so when pushed backwards they will be half a shank length. Again, this can be totally up to personal preference. When you are happy with the length secure the fibers with some snug wraps going down the shank to where we stopped the opal tinsel. Make sure not to trap the tinsel at a weird angle when wrapping. It should still be right on top of the shank.
7. In the space we have created behind the bead secure two peacock herl and wrap them from the rear of the space to the front right behind the bead. Capture them with your thread and secure them in place with a few tight wraps and cut away the extra.
8. This is the trickiest part of this fly, but it’s all in the material handling. First the pheasant tail fibers at the front of the fly need to split into two groups, 50/50. Then I find it easiest to pull just the pheasant tail forward, over the peacock and through the 50/50 split. Next the two groups of pheasant tail need to be stroked rearward and then the pheasant tail wing case captured with your thread right behind the bead. Usually two wraps is enough and then the opal tinsel can be pull over the top as well and secured with a few more snug wraps. This part of the fly can be the hardest part, but with a little practise it’s no problem at all.
9. The final step is to cut away the extra material hanging off the front, give it a 3-4 turn whip finish and cover the wing casing with a healthy coat of UV resin.
Thanks for reading. Whip up a few at the vice, put your skills to the test, and get out there!