The original Pheasant Tail Nymph was tied by Englishman Frank Sawyer, a riverkeeper on the River Avon for more than 50 years. His pattern was designed to imitate the nymphs of various mayflies, especially those of the Baetis genus, although according to Tom Rosenbauer, in The Orvis Guide to the Essential American Flies:
It’s amazing that an artificial fly with shades of brown and orange is so succesful for the brownish-olive nymphs of the Baetis genus, and Sawyer himself was mildly perplexed at the discrepancy of color.
But there was simply no denying that the fly caught fish.
Al Trothinventor of the Elk Hair Caddisliked Sawyer’s pattern, but wanted something bulkier and with more prominent legs, so he created the American version shown here. Although Troth weighted his fly with lead wire, the beadhead version is now probably the most popular variation today.
In this video, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions walks you through each tying step for created an unweighted American Pheasant Tail Nymph, and as usual, he offers a couple tricks you can use to make the process simpler and to help you whenever you’re tying any nymph pattern. His method for creating just the right proportions for the nymph’s body, thorax, and legs is quite useful, and I love the coffee-cup trick at the end.
American Pheasant Tail Nymph from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.
American Pheasant Tail Nymph
Hook: 2X-long nymph hook (here, a Daiichi 730), sizes 12-20.
Thread: Brown, 6/0 or 70 denier.
Rib: Copper Ultra Wire, small.
Tail and abdomen: Dark brown pheasant tail fibers.
Legs and wingcase: Dark brown pheasant tail fibers.
Thorax: Peacock herl.
Head: Brown thread.
Adhesives: Head cement.
9 thoughts on “Video: How to Tie the American Pheasant Tail Nymph”
I got here from google + well done on an outstanding social media promotion
I am an artist, developing a line of art depicting stylized versions of fishing flies. I am creating a Pheasant Tail Nymph and would like to use your words for the description of the lure.
I write you to ask your permission to use the following phrasing from the website http://www.orvis.com/news/fly-fishing/video-how-to-tie-the-pheasant-tail-nymph/
“THE ORIGINAL PHEASANT TAIL NYMPH WAS TIED BY ENGLISHMAN FRANK SAWYER, A RIVERKEEPER ON THE RIVER AVON FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS. HIS PATTERN WAS DESIGNED TO IMITATE THE NYMPHS OF VARIOUS MAYFLIES, ESPECIALLY THOSE OF THE BAETIS GENUS.”
Sure thing, Jerry. Good luck.
li seu blog, adorei muito do seu web-blog! vi que o teor
muito bem estruturado. Tenho um blog no mesmo ramo e gostaria de ver se você tem alguma dica para quem está começando a escrever
blog sobre isso. Obrigado!
I have been tying flies for over 25 years. Tying with peacock herl and pheasant tail can be tricky. I liked his trick of wrapping the thread around each turn of both the pheasant tail and the herl. I do usually tie this as a bead head fly but one can never have enough flies in the arsenal.
Still the best Pheasant Tail.