Photo of the Month: Bycatch

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Hot Spot Pheasant Tail Nymph Variation

The pheasant tail nymph is perhaps one of the best flies of all time. It can catch trout in a ton of different situations and is extremely versatile. It probably has more variation than most other flies combined. All of these variations are still pheasant tail nymphs at least in that they utilize pheasant tail fibers for the tail and abdomen if not more. One simple variation that we use a lot is pheasant for the tail and abdomen with a traditional wire rib, and a dubbed thorax. You can include the wing case and legs or not. I've found that most of the time that isn't necessary. 

Hot Spot Pheasant Tail Nymph Video

Below is the video of me tying this fly in a hot spot version. At the end of the video, I share some brief but important observations about the hot spot. I hope that part will get your mind searching for new possibilities if it is something you hadn't considered before. I'm going to do a longer post and/or another video soon just on UV materials in your fly tying. Note that not all bright thread will be UV reactive so consider that if it is important to you when tying and fishing a particular pattern. I don't tie all of my flies with this feature by a long shot, but it is nice to have at least a few handy just in case.


Hot Spot Pheasant Tail Nymph Basic Recipe

  • Hook: Firehole Outdoors 516 jig hook #12-#18
  • Bead: Slotted tungsten bead, color of choice, size to match hook
  • Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0 for #18
  • Tail: Pheasant tail fiber
  • Rib: Small copper Ultra-wire
  • Abdomen: Pheasant Tail fibers
  • Thorax: Peacock Ice Dub
  • Optional wing case and legs: Pheasant Tail Fibers
  • Hot Spot: Fire Orange 6/0 0r 8/0 UNI-thread OR Globrite Floss

Directions: Basically, tie this fly like a normal pheasant tail nymph, dubbing the thorax instead of using peacock herl. At the end, tie off and finish. Then start some fire orange UNI-thread and give 4-6 wraps and then tie off and finish again. Alternatively, tie a regular pheasant tail nymph and just add the hot spot. This is an excellent pattern particularly for nymphing on higher flows like we experience in the spring. In lower water, I generally recommend more subtle patterns without the hot spot. 

Let me know if the hot spot pheasant tail works well for you!

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