The venerable Pheasant Tail nymph is a fly box staple, and there’s a reason for that. It works.
And it’s not the most onerous fly to tie, either, as demonstrated below by Matt Callies of Loon Outdoors, who cranks one out in just a few minutes.
These great little nymphs also lend some versatility to those of us at the vise. For example, pheasant tails come in a variety of colors, but they all react well in the water—it’s one of those materials that just shimmers under the surface, like peacock herl (which is also used in this fly). Also, pheasant is pretty easy to work with, it ties down really well and the end result is almost always eye-pleasing.
Consider, too, that the bead Matt uses could just as easily be red, green, black … or just shiny brass—it’s up to you, and what you like to fish when you’re on the water.
But no matter what, these flies work, and they should occupy a corner of every fly fisher’s nymph box.