Simple but effective variation on the classic Pheasant Tail Nymph I use when targeting fish in faster water sections on our rivers, especially when fishing ‘French Nymph’ style.

Because it gets down quickly with the 3.5mm tungsten bead you can really work in those wee pockets or drop odd areas alongside the heavy water and I like to fish this pattern either in the middle or tail positions on the cast.

It’s easy to tie and fairly robust which is perfect for a pattern that’s going to take a good bit of punishment as it bounces away amongst the stones or ‘chewed’ by hungry fish.  The added flash of the pearl thorax cover seems to add to the attraction of this pattern in spite of the obvious flash from the gold head, however in really clear water I sometimes like to alter bead colour in case the flash can be too much and in fact put fish off.  Something to consider is to heat the beads under a flame prior to using which removes the coloured coating and leaves the original matt tungsten grey finish.  I use a pins and lighter for this with a we pot of water ready to drop beads in soon as I can see the colour has been removed.  Take care however as the beads will get very hot and it’s easy to burn fingers when doing this.

In smaller sizes and with lighter beads, this wee fly works well behind an indicator ‘Duo’ style on rivers as well as on stocked still waters, and is also a handy wee ‘anchor’ tail fly in a team of loch flies especially in windier conditions.

Using the K4AY-SE straight eye hook helps with hook setting as well as ensures this fly ‘swims’ correctly when fished.  I like the slightly upturned point as I feel it offers a better hook hold as well, however being barbless means it’s easily removed once the fish is landed and the pressure from the line is released.

Easy to tie, easy to fish and a ‘go to’ pattern for me when I choose to opt for a sub-surface approach.



Hook: Partridge Patriot Barbless K4AY-SE Straight Eye Grub Size 10 – 14

Thread: Brown Uni Thread 8/0 or 6/0

Body: Cock pheasant tail fibres

Rib: Fine gold wire (Veniards)

Thorax: Copper /brown hares ear / rabbit mix with a pinch of copper flashbrite

Thorax Cover: Medium pearl Lurex tinsel (Veniards)

Bead: 3.5mm (size to suit desired pattern) Gold tungsten countersunk bead (Veniards)


Tying Sequence:

Step 1 Slide on tungsten bead, place hook in vice and catch in thread.  Secure bead with thread turns forming a tapered underbody

Step 2 Take a pinch of pheasant tail fibres (approx. 4 or 5 fibres)

Step 3 Secure pheasant tail fibres at base of hook

Step 4 Secure fine gold wire rib.

Step 5 Complete tapered underbody and bring thread to back of bead

Step 6 Twist pheasant tail fibres to form 'rope' before winding onto hook forming body. Note keep twisting with each turn

Step 7 Secure pheasant tail at base of bead then wind on wire rib in even turns opposite direction to the pheasant tail to help secure

Step 8 Bring thread back slightly to form thorax area and secure in Lurex tinsel

Step 9 Take a small amount of copper dubbing and place onto thread to form thorax

Step 10 Wind on thorax then bring Lurex tinsel over to form cover and tie down

Step 11 Apply varnish directly to thread before winding on two turns then whip finish.

Step 12 Brush out thorax to form nymph legs.


Allan Liddle

Based in Moray in Scotland's North East, Allan has specialises with the wild trout from the rivers and burns, lochs and lochans throughout Mainland Scotland and the Isles. A strong passion for fishing simple dries he feels there's nothing better than to see the fish take off the top, but isn't slow to fish a range of different styles when mood or conditions dictate. Although trout is his first love Allan occasionally chases the Salmon, Grayling stocked fish and even dabbles in salt water when the chance arises.

Allan has also represented Scotland at international level, is a GAIA qualified trout instructor and a has been a regular contributor to Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Magazine for almost twenty years. Allan’s love of fly tying spans almost thirty years and has been a regular at many tying demonstrations and work shops prior to, and since joining the Partridge Pro-Team in 2013.

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