Fly Tying- Arthur Cove’s Pheasant Tail Nymph

cove's ptn 1we all know that Frank Sawyer was the originator the infamousPTN but perhaps few outside of the UK are familiar with Cove’s version.
where Sawyer’s nymph was originally created as a baetis imitation for chalkstreams, Cove’s version comes out as a chironomid pupae mostly intended for stillwaters but works equally well in flowing waters that have chironomids and most of them do.

 ” An important part of Cove’s claim to fame is told in the story of how he developed his famous pheasant tail nymph. His most successful tyings were slender and lightly-dressed nymphs – not the thick, over-dressed flies too often on sale today – even though they were tied on long-shank size eights and 10s. He then started to use hooks of a normal shank length but took the dressing right round the bend “and much nicer they looked too.”. Full instructions for tying the fly are included in the appendix and Cove recommends that you tie the fly on all sizes and weights of hook, so that you can fish it at different depths. ”  -click the cigarette for more from his book first published in 1986-
apart from the flashback addition the original nymph most probably looked like this slender beauty below and i’m sure it’ll be just as effective as the curved-hook version although my personal preference goes towards the latter for both a closer resemblance of the curvy-squigling shape of the bugs as they’re trying to break through the water’s surface tension and a strong personal preference for grub-style hooks as in Davie’s video that accentuate this curvy shape and also hold fish better as there’s less hook shank to ‘lever off’ during the fight. cove's ptn 2

the tying in itself is very straightforward. always very well explained and demonstrated by Davie McPhail, here’s how to tie it.
the original didn’t have pheasant tail fibre tips as wings. whether you believe the pattern needs them or not is up to you.
be sure to give these a try, you won’t regret it. enjoy !

* sorry, couldn’t help it.

2 thoughts on “Fly Tying- Arthur Cove’s Pheasant Tail Nymph

  1. The first Cove’s Pheasant tail Nymph that I ever saw was in Arthur Coves shop on Knox Road Wellingborough, in Arthur Cove’s fly-tying vice. It differed slightly from existing flys by having 1/16″ tails formed by the tips of the pheasant tail herls. The thorax was hare’s body fur pricked out with his dubbing needle to simulate the legs. Arthur said that he had fished Chew that week and taken se deal trout. The new fly imitated some large Sedge pupae that he had spooned out. He recommended fishing them on a floating full line with 16′ leader, from the bank, drifting slowly across in the breeze and watching the line tip for takes. I suspect that Arthur later found that they took fish feeding on large chironimids and changed the design to match, but the original was a free swimming Sedge Pupa imitation.
    Pete Coales

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