Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Pheasant Tail Nymph


Text and Photos by Andrew Susani

Hook #10 - #18 standard wet fly or nymph hook
Thread Fine copper wire or 6/0 black or brown thread
Body Pheasant tail fibres
Tail and wing case Pheasant tail fibres

As much as I could, I followed the original recipe which uses fine transformer wire (about the thickness of 1lb mono) and found that it could be pretty annoying to work with, especially if you are a bit heavy-handed with fine thread. It's primary use was to provide a bit of weight and was probably a cheaper alternative to fine thread in the days of this fly's conception. Today there are work-arounds for all these little annoyances, so if you don't have a problem breaking from tradition, just use an underbody of lead wire and use plain 6/0 thread for the rest of the tying.

Tying Procedure

1. Start the wire up behind the eye of the hook and build up a wire underbody with a pronounced thorax.
2. Select 3 or 4 long fibres from a natural pheasant tail.
3. Tie the fibres down so the tips protrude 6-7mm behind the bend of the hook.
4. Take the fibres and gently wind them around the wire.
5. Carefully wrap the twisted fibres evenly around the shank to form an abdomen.
6. Tie in another 4 fibres at the thorax.
7. Take two of the fibres and wrap them around the wire as done previously for the abdomen. Wind these over the thorax underbody, tie off and trim behind the hook eye. Take the remaining two fibres and pull them over the thorax to form the wing case. Tie off behind the hook eye and trim these as well.
8. Take some tight wraps of the wire and make a single half-hitch to secure it (whip finishing is probably going to be too hard to do with the fine wire, but do it if you are confident).