Coming to grips with the PT Nymph. [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Coming to grips with the PT Nymph.

Mean Mr Mustard
06-18-2003, 01:42 PM
This past spring I have been introduced, by happen stance, to the Pheasant Tail Nymph; an awesome pattern. My two samples have become hopelessly shredded and I need MORE!

As a beginning tyer with beginner skill, I have been struggling to tie up a few and have come to a couple problem areas forum members may have advice for: The pheasant tail fibers are too short to wrap past a point 1/3 of the way to the hook eye and, the pheasant tail I have is the wrong color (almost black as opposed to the red-brown of the original pattern). Where does one find the red-brown fibers in a natural colored tail? Do some tails exhibit more such colored fiber than another?

I tried a work-around to the too short problem - Tying in and wrapping forward, then tying off those fibers only to tie in a second set and continuing the wrap. Is this what you accomplished tyers do?



06-18-2003, 06:57 PM
You should use the center feather of a male Ring neck pheasant tail.These feathers are the "correct" color your looking for.The fibers are usually long enough to tie up to size 10.Hope this helps.

Mean Mr Mustard
06-18-2003, 07:42 PM
The tail I have didn't have any brown colored center feathers, only on the side edge of smaller, outer tail feathers. I looked the bird over and I think it might have been harvested in the field as the tail has multiple feathers only partially in place (like being what's left after a shotgun blast). Don't recall when I got it or the circumstances; might have been a clearance skin the spouse picked up.

Looks like I need some good tail feathers (boy I sure could have some fun with where that might have led, but being nice...).

I live so far out in the boonies that checking out skins in a shop is not practical which is why I have no idea what constitutes the predominate colors of a natural tail, or at least the center feathers. I'm assuming, NOW, that it is brown?


06-18-2003, 07:48 PM
Yes, brown w/ thin black bars.Most mail order places sell whole tails,Natural and dyed colors. Check out ebay too. Type in "fly tying pheasant tail" in their search.Good luck.

Mean Mr Mustard
06-18-2003, 08:01 PM
Good object lesson, here - There is no real value in cheap tail.:hehe:


John Desjardins
06-22-2003, 08:28 PM
MMM, I've been on vacation for a few days or I'd have gotten to this one earlier. The PT nymph is one of my favorites. I can only add 1 thing to Mikes advice; the fibers at the base of the feather will be a little longer and are less webby. They translate into better flys in my opinion.

Mean Mr Mustard
06-23-2003, 12:04 AM
This has been quite a learning process, both in picking material and, in utilizing to craft the fly. The skin I had didn't have the longer center tails, they'd been plucked and what little color I needed was sorely lacking.

By wrestling with this fly I have become a much better tyer. Not to the point of bragging rights, but confident in my ability to, somewhat closely, copy the creations of others. The point I am making is that this pattern was so important to me that I made myself devote the necessary time to learn each part. In learning this fly I broke through some type of barrier which had previously restrained my best efforts. A romantic? I hope so. A fatalist, probably. A mystic, no way. But I do love the smile that now accompanies me at the tying table.

The Pheasant Tail Nymph is destined to become my favorite pattern.

Thanks for the responses.


06-23-2003, 02:12 AM
Mean Mr. Mustard,

Below is a link to a series of Harry's tutorials, and the specific link directing you to the tutorial on tying the PT Nymph.

I believe you'll find Harry's step by step process, and the photographs illustrating the actual tying of a PT nymph, and other patterns as well, extremely helpful.

His technique and teaching method is one of the best I've seen online and has been an outstanding contribution to the development of many tyers. Enjoy and good luck, John