One of the oldest modern nymphs, the Pheasant Tail was created by English River Keeper Frank Sawyer, who wrote about it in his 1958 book Nymphs and the Trout. Ever since then, it has been one of the most popular nymphs for fly fishermen around the world. The fly is so successful because it seems to imitate a wide array of mayfly nymphs, and it can be fished in all parts of the water column.
The Soft Hackle is, of course, much older, dating back as far as the Treatyse of Fishing with an Angle, some would argue. There are many traditional English patterns that are direct descendants of the flies described in the Middle Ages, but they didn’t become very popular in the U.S. until Ray Bergman wrote about them in Outdoor Life in the 1950s. Then Sylvester Nemes’ 1975 The Soft-Hackled Fly introduced them to a wide audience.
This pattern, demonstrated by author and blogger Matt Grobert, combines the best aspects of these two iconic patterns to create a killer hybrid. Like all the fantastic videos from Tightline Productions, this one offers clear, step-by-step instructions for tying the pattern, as well as important tips that will help you when tying other patterns. Here, you’ll learn how to use the rib to hold the body materials in place, how to wrap peacock herl so that it looks more like hackle, and how to correctly tie in a Hungarian partridge feather.
Beadhead Soft-Hackle Pheasant Tail
Hook: 2X-long nymph hook (here a Dai-Riki #730), size 16.
Bead: 3/32-inch gold bead.
Thread: Olive, 6/0 or 140-denier.
Rib: Copper Ultra Wire, small.
Tails and abdomen: 6 pheasant tail fibers.
Thorax: Peacock herl.
Collar: Hungarian partridge.