At first I hesitated to show this “secret” fly to the world…that is how good this nymph is… believe me. But since I do not mind other people having fun and catching fish I decided, what the heck, let them know about it! (I also wrote an article about it for the Canadian magazine “Eastern Woods & Waters” which you can find here.)
The pheasant tail nymph (also known as the Sawyer nymph, after the famous river keeper Frank Sawyer) is one of the oldest and most successful nymphs ever. This fly has a worldwide reputation as a very good all-round nymph. It is easy to make with very simple materials. Nothing fancy, just the way Mr. Frank Sawyer saw things, but very deadly. This nymph is a good imitation for a whole range of insects, you only have to vary the size a bit. (I find myself using TMC3769 or Kamasan B175 in hook size #12 & #14 most often) I prefer fishing it upstream in a dead downstream drift. However, watch your leader when it swings round and starts to rise to the surface, that is quite often the most deadly moment! (Especially when fishing for Grayling)
Now I would like to make a little jump to the success of the gold bead (goldhead) flies and nymphs. We all know that they work well and I think it is because of 2 reasons: 1) The fly sinks like a stone and 2) The goldbead is reflecting the light. After a couple of years I got sick and tired of just sticking a gold bead fly at the end of my leader and chucking it in. There’s more to life than goldbeads. So I went back to the classic patterns like the Pheasant Tail Nymph but noted that I had not as much success as with the goldhead flies. So I started looking for more shiny wire and changed to a red colored pheasant feather. The combination of those two ingredients was just amazing! This fly is an absolute killer for trout and grayling and I have tested it in many different rivers, lakes in just as many different countries. Every time I had other fishermen with me, they were just as stunned as I was. OK, here’s what you need (see step by step instructions below in thumbnails):
- Heavy wire nymph hook (TMC 3769 is my favorite)
- Shiny brass wire 0.3 mm (I find this on large spools in handy craft shops!)
- Red dyed pheasant tail feathers.
By-the-way, all credits go to Mr. Frank Sawyer….not me 🙂
(Click on thumbnails)