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-
cove
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.

Oliver Edwards, Frank Sawyer’s Pheasant Tail Nymph and putting all that old stuff to good use.

always a bit dismayed by conflicting emotions and the ensuing decision making process of wanting to slap him upside the head and also show him my deepest respect, watching Edwards tie and fish is regardless, always a treat.oliver edwards eats his glasses most of his film excerpts don’t stay for long on the open net so if anything, it’s well worth checking out his by-the-book renditions and tutorials for one of Sawyer’s infamous flies: the Pheasant Tail Nymph. enjoy !

Sawyer’s Pheasant Tail Nymph

tied by Hans Weilenmann

we’ve already seen the construction of this seminal nymph pattern by it’s creator Frank Sawyer and then by Davie McPhail in the ‘Two Pheasant’s Tail’ and it’s hackled ‘Cruncher’ variant ‘Where’s there’s munching there’s crunching!’ posts but i thought it would be nice to see another perspective since it’s always enriching to see how different people achieve the same result, specially by world-class tiers.
as a bonus Hans gives us a bit of the fly’s history , what it was originally intended to imitate (a Baetis nymph) and a nice variant that makes the fly more durable, something quite non-negligable since pheasant tail fibers are notoriously fragile and fall apart when they’re munched on by trout !

on a personal note, if there where only one type of nymph pattern in my boxes, the traditional pattern and it’s varied variants in different colors and sizes of the PTN would be it.
it’s just that good…