Friday, January 8, 2010

Like a Timex the PT Nymph Just Keeps on Tickin'

Pheasant-tail Nymph

Of hundreds of mayfly nymphs it seems the large majority are some shade of brown; little wonder then the PT nymph gets such high marks from both anglers and trout. Unlike the all-American Adams, an Englishman, Frank Sawyer, spawned the PT. In his 1958 book, ‘Nymphs and Trout’ Sawyer revealed its unique construction. Using fine copper wire instead of traditional thread and cock pheasant tail-fibers, he spun the two together and wound them on the hook forming the abdomen and thorax as well as the wing case—no legs. As fly patterns go about as quick and easy as it gets.

Apparently too easy, for in no time flat, American-tiers unveiled a new “improved” version. Same pheasant-tail abdomen and wing case but instead thread-wrapped, featuring wire-ribbing and legs (usually omitted in smaller sizes, say, sub-16), but the biggest change was a thorax concocted of peacock herl. Style aside, like the Adams dry, in no time flat the PT-nymph became standard fare in angler fly boxes anywhere trout swim.

While the Sawyer style is far from dead the American version is by far the most popular. But with flash-backs, half-backs, epoxy-backs, copper-versions, brass and tungsten bead-heads in gold, silver, copper and black—soft hackles and what not it sometimes takes a vivid imagination to impart a PT origin. And with new versions seeming to drop from the vice almost before the head cement dries on the last “latest greatest, recognition isn’t about to get easier anytime soon.

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