Effective PT Nymph Variant Pattern

While we're on the subject, here is a very productive Pheasant Tail variant: The PM Stone.

A buddy of mine showed me this pattern as he demolished pink salmon after pink salmon at the Baptism one afternoon while I was resigned to playing tiddly-winks for lack of better things to do.

I've subsequently caught everything from panfish to inland trout, to steelhead & chinook/coho salmon on this pattern. Just size the hook/fly appropriately to species. Where legal such as on the Brule, this fly makes an absolutely deadly dropper.

Pattern illustrated was tied for salmon on a #10 TMC 2457 with 0.025 lead wire under the thorax & no bead.
Click Photo for Larger Image

Hook: TMC 2457
Thread: Black 70-140 Denier based on fly sizing
Bead: Gold or Copper optional
Weight: 6-8 turns of 0.010-0.030 lead wire (optional & to size)
Tail: 8-10 Rooster Pheasant barbs from the bottom 1/2 of the tail
Abdomen: 2-4 long Peacock Herl barbs
Thorax: 2-4 long Peacock Herl barbs
Shellback/Wing Pad: 8-10 Rooster Pheasant barbs
Gills: 8-10 Rooster Pheasant barbs split

Quick note regarding this pattern - If you use quality Peacock Herl and Pheasant tail, you can tie this fly with just 8 Pheasant Tail Barbs, and 2-4 Peacock Herl

Slip on the bead (optional) & wind a thread underbody from bead to tail. A tail-bump isn't critical but it helps.

Tie in the pheasant tail barbs using appropropriate proportioning but do not cut them, then tie in the wire. On smaller flies, electrical wire stripped out of the insulation from defunct christmas tree light strands or earbud style headphones is the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Save the remaining for brassies etc.)

Stroke the pheasant barbs back over the tail and put a wrap over the bend to hold them down & back. This will simply slide forward once you complete the next step. Now tie in the peacock, tips first, and wind the thread forward to the thorax area.

Note: If you are going to weight the fly with lead wire (optional), it doesn't matter when you tie it in; before the tail or after the peacock. All you need to do is make 5-7 wraps in the thorax area just behind the bead and secure it. I like doing it before the tail, but that's just me...

Now wrap the peacock forward to the thorax and tie off with 1-2 wraps, but don't cut it. Try not to twist the herl as you wrap it, it flares better if you don't.

Pull the pheasant tail barb tag up and over the top of the peacock to make a shellback over the top of the abdomen (the back). Tie this off with 1-2 wraps at the back of the thorax area. Bind the entire pheasant tail/peacock abdomen together by palmering the wire rib forward and in the opposite direction you wrapped the peacock herl. This makes for a very durable, clean looking fly. At this point you should again stroke the pheasant barbs back and put a wrap or 2 over the top to hold them back and out of the way.

Take the remaining tag ends of the peacock, & wrap them forward to form a thorax & tie off.

Note: Using lead wire not only helps to get your fly down and keep it in the strike zone, but also makes a great abdomen underbody and better fly profile. You can substitute non-toxic wire, chenille or floss to build up this profile if you prefer. Once this is tied in, cover it with the remaining peacock tags as in the step above. If you don't have enough, tie in an additional 1-2 herls. This is where quality herl pays off, it breaks less and it's very bulky after it flares.

Now pull the tag-end pheasant tail barbs up and over the peacock thorax to make a wing pad and tie off just behind the bead. Split the barbs into 2 groups (i.e. 4 barbs on each side) & pull each group down along the sides of the fly, holding it from below with your fingers. Put a couple wraps over the top to secure them & whip-finish.

Again, quality PT barbs from the lower half of a rooster tail will allow you to tie the entire fly with the same 8 barbs you used for the tail of the fly.

Clip the remaining PT tags off about equal to the rear of the thorax to represent the gills/legs.

I know this reads/sounds like a huge pain, but it really is a quick and simple pattern to tie once you get the mechanics and order down. Not to mention steelhead really like this fly once the water gets warmer, clearer and skinny.

Here are a couple other PT Variant Patterns just for comparison. Both utilize traditional PT abdomens but substitute red wire and soft partridge hackle collars for the gills/legs. The pink thorax pattern is ostritch herl tied on a Mustad R70, the green is chartreuse sparkle dub tied on a TMC 2457 using a dubbing loop. Both are stained water patterns that have worked well on North Shore loopers, steelhead and pink salmon:

Click Photo for Larger Image

Click Photo for Larger Image


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