The PTN (Pheasant Tailed Nymph)

By Warren Prior

Warren Prior's version of the PTN


Hook #12 – #16 nymph hook (a #14 was used in the demo fly)
Thread Any fine brown thread – The colour must match the colour of the pheasant tail
Thorax  Peacock herl (or orange dubbing to tie an orange hot spot)
Tail, Body & Wing Casing Pheasant tail
Ribbing Copper wire
Head An appropriately sized copper bead

Tying Instructions

1) Begin by dropping a bead (I used copped) onto the hook and moving it up to the eye. The bead is important to weight the fly so choose an appropriate bead. Tungsten for example is great for fast moving and deeper waters. Other colour beads can also be experimented with.

2) Dress the hook shank with your chosen thread to provide a solid base to tie the materials onto. Then wind the thread down to the bend of the hook and tie a piece of copper wire which will be used to rib the body and will provide additional strength to the fly.

3) Next tie in around 4 – 6 strands of pheasant tail to create the tail of the fly. Generally the tail should be around the length of the hook shank.

4) Rather than trimming off the pheasant tail (and wasting it) we will use it to form the abdomen. Do so by winding the cotton up the hook to the where you wish the thorax to end (roughly a third of the way down the hook shank from the eye). Now wind the ends of the pheasant tail up to the cotton and tie them off. You can now trim off the remainder.

5) Counter wrap the copper wire over the thorax thus securely trapping it. Tie off the copper wire and trim off any excess. Pheasant tail is a relatively brittle material and often breaks when fighting a fish. This ribbing will therefore give the fly some extra life.

Note: Counter wrapping means to wrap in the opposite direction to the material under it. This traps the material more efficiently than wrapping in the same direction.

6) Tie in another 6 strands of pheasant tail by the but, making sure they point towards the tail of the fly. These will be folded over the thorax and will eventually form the wing case and legs.

7) Tie in a few strands of peacock herl and build up a well shaped thorax using them. It should be roughly a third of the length of the fly. Tie these off behind the bead.

Note: Dubbing in a thorax instead of using peacock herl provides some great alternative nymphs. If often dub in an orange thorax to tie a form of the orange hot spot for yellowfish.

8) Fold the strands of pheasant tail over the thorax and secure them behind the bead to form the wing casing.

9) At this point you can either cut off the ends of the pheasant tail, or split the strands into 2 groups and fold them down the sides of the fly to form legs.

10) Tie off the fly. You are done.

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