THIS variant nymph really started life as a PTN when I had the idea of utilising different materials in a bid to make a more durable fly. As we all know, pheasant tail fibres and the pin sharp teeth of trout aren’t the best of friends!
However, when this pattern reached its conclusion only the tail and body incorporated pheasant tail fibres.
Now some traditionalists would say there’s a strong case here to question the PTN label of this fly. All I can say is that many years ago it started out as a PTN. Subsequently, over time and by trying different materials this is the end product. And not being too precious about naming flies, through convenience, I continued to call this a PTN or variant.
In place of pheasant tail fibres, a Thinskin thorax cover is rendered almost indestructible. As the tail of my early nymphs seemed to end up being chewed off, cock hackle fibres now form a sturdy, yet suitable replacement (see the variant tying).
On my initial tyings, red game hackle fibres were used to match the shade of cock pheasant. Later, I discovered that silver badger, Greenwells and even dyed white hackle tips also make some attractive nymphs. Hare’s mask or grey squirrel dubbing make a neat thorax region and corresponding hackle fibres can be added as legs though I would say the legging stage is an optional one.
HOW TO FISH
THIS suggestive nymph is a great late winter or early season fly for stillwaters. Whilst a larger dressing works well as a point fly, it can be used with confidence on any position of the leader.
Like all nymphs, present it on a floating line or an intermediate, and for achieving depth when using a floating line, long leaders of fluorocarbon are best. Although a slow figure-of-eight retrieve is the favoured approach, occasionally tweaking the nymph back works equally well.
On rivers this nymph has proved extremely effective when presented upstream on a short line. Another pattern can be attached to complement this or try a couple of Spiders on droppers that will search the upper water column.
Aim to fish the flies dead-drift and stay in touch by retrieving line in tempo with the current speed. This is best achieved by a combination of elevating the rod tip and drawing in the line.
Hook: Size 10-16 Kamasan B400
Thread: Tan 8/0
Weight (optional): Thin lead foil
Rib: Copper wire
Tail: Natural cock pheasant centre tail
Body: Natural cock pheasant centre tail
Legs: Ginger cock hackle
Thorax: Hare/squirrel dubbing
Thorax cover: Wapsi Thinskin
Head: Wapsi 70 fluo orange thread
● Bobbin holder
● Dubbing needle
● Whip finish tool
MATERIALS AVAILABLE FROM
Natural/dyed pheasant centre tails and quality hare’s masks can be obtained from Cookshill Fly Tying on 01782 388382.
Glasgow Angling Centre stock Wapsi Thinskin, Wapsi ultra thread and a range of squirrel dubbings. Tel: 0870 920 1120.
Hook: Size 10-16 Kamasan B400 Thread: Tan 8/0 Weight (optional): Thin lead foil Rib: Copper wire Tail: Silver badger hackle fibres Body: Natural cock pheasant centre tail Legs: Ginger cock hackle Thorax: Hare/squirrel dubbing Thorax cover: Wapsi Thinskin Head: Wapsi 70 fluo orange thread
Hook: Size 10-16 Kamasan B400 Thread: Tan 8/0 Weight (optional): Thin lead foil Rib: Gold wire Tail: Silver badger hackle fibres Body: Dyed olive cock pheasant centre tail Legs: Light dun cock hackle Thorax: Hare/squirrel dubbing Thorax cover: Wapsi Thinskin Head: Wapsi 70 fluo orange thread
1. Fix the hook in the vice and cover two thirds of the shank with thin lead foil. Varnish the foil to prevent oxidation and consequent discoloration.
2. Run on thread at bend before securing tailing fibres on top of hook shank plus a length of copper wire. Butt fibres up against lead to create an even underbody.
3. Select 6-8 cock pheasant tail fibres and, ensuring their tips are level, secure at bend with two turns of thread. Wind thread two thirds of way back along the hook.
4. Ensuring that pheasant tail fibres are lying flat, not twisted, wind them in touching turns to form an even body. Tie off when hanging thread is reached.
5. Secure ends of pheasant tail fibres with thread. Next, wind copper wire in the opposite direction so the turns cross those of PT fibres. Secure the end of the copper wire.
6. Remove the waste ends of feather and wire before catching in a 3mm wide strip of Thinskin. Apply the hare’s fur dubbing to the thread.
7. Twist the fur to form a thin rope then apply to form a neat thorax. Select a ginger hackle from the rear of the cape and cut away the tip to leave a V-shape.
8. Offer this up to the thorax with the tips pointing slightly down. Draw the hackle stem forward to leave the correct length of hackle fibres.
9. Pull Thinskin strip over the top of the thorax and snug down behind the eye before adding a four-turn whip finish. If using clear Thinskin tint with a marker pen first.
10. Trim away the excess Thinskin and hackle stem before adding a small head of fluorescent orange thread.