Welcome to the fly of the month! Last month we tackled a great early season dry fly, the Quill Gordon. This month we’re going to shift our attention to nymphs. The pattern I’ve selected is a great little pattern created by an innovative tier named Britt Phillips. It appears in the book Innovative Flies and Techniques by Al and Gretchen Beatty. This fly is one of my personal favorites for several reasons. It combines all the great qualities of the basic nymphs – the bugginess of hare’s ear, the flash of a copper body, the allure of pheasant tail, and even a “hot spot” of color. It’s a breeze to tie, and it’s probably the only fly I’ve ever tied in which it is almost impossible to crowd the eye of the hook. And, most importantly, it’s highly productive. In fact, I don’t think there’s been a time that I’ve used it that a trout hasn’t nipped at it. So, without further ado, let’s tie the…
HOOK: wet fly, size 10 to 16
TAIL: pheasant tail fibers
ABDOMEN: copper wire
THORAX: hare’s ear dubbing
WING CASE: pheasant tail fibers
- Start the thread on the hook just behind the eye and wrap a base of thread to the bend.
- Wrap the thread back to just behind the eye and tie in a length of copper wire along the bottom of the hook shank. Secure the wire along its length, wrapping back to the bend of the hook.
- Tie on a small bunch of pheasant tail fibers as a tail, the length of which should be equal to the gape of the hook. Don’t trim the butt ends away. Instead, bind them along the top of the shank to the eye of the hook.
- Next, make a loop with the butt ends of the pheasant tail fibers, securing them again at the eye of the hook. If done correctly, you should now have a loop of pheasant tail fibers and the remaining butt ends of the fibers attached at the eye and extending forward over the eye of the hook. Leave this material there for the time being – do not trim it off yet.
- Now wrap the copper wire toward the eye of the hook to form the body. Make the first wrap of wire under the tail to prop the pheasant tail fibers up slightly, the next wrap over the tail to secure it in place. Continue to wrap the body toward the eye in tight turns. Tie off and clip the excess wire just behind the eye of the hook.
- Apply some hare’s ear dubbing to your thread and dub a full thorax about one third of the way back to the bend. Be generous with your dubbing to create a full thorax and a well-proportioned fly.
- Pull the pheasant tail fibers (the loop and the butt ends) back over the thorax to create the wing case (when you do this, you’ll see how it exposes the eye of the hook, a great technique to ensure you don’t crowd the eye.) Secure with thread and apply your whip finish at this spot on the fly, creating an orange “hot spot.” Now trim the waste ends of the pheasant tail fibers and clip your thread from the fly. Apply a drop of head cement to the thread. Pick out some of the guard hairs in the dubbing to represent legs.
- As a final step, you may add a drop of flexible cement to the wing case to increase durability of the fly.
So there you have it, the PT Brassie. I again have to applaud Britt on the innovative use of tying technique and materials usage in this fly. My fly box always has a few of these in it, I hope yours will now, too. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-730-7928.