Jim Sens joins us in the shop to tie up a twist on an absolute classic. The pheasant tail nymph has been through the wringer and back with all of its variations and while we don’t mind fishing them with tungsten, that amount of weight defeats the whole purpose of why this fly was designed.
In 1958 English River Keeper Frank Sawyer put the pheasant tail together after closely observing what mayfly nymphs were doing in the water column. He originally tied it unweighted where it rode in the top few inches of the stream with the hackle legs extended. After even closer observation, he noticed that mayfly nymphs floated in the stream with their legs held close to their body, so he added wire and pheasant tail fibers as shorter legs – this got it deeper and replicated the natural appearance of typical mayfly nymph suspended in the flow.
Now, Jim Sens enters the conversation. He’s added UV hot orange ice dub because, well, orange hotspots seem to work well here on the McKenzie.
Hook: TMC100B, Size 10
Thread: Danville 70D, burnt orange
Lead: .015 lead wire
Tail: Pheasant tail, natural
Rib: Copper wire, brassi or small
Body: Pheasant tail, natural
Legs: Pheasant tail, natural
Wing: Pheasant tail, natural
Thorax: Ice Dub, UV hot orange