The Pheasant Tail Nymph

by Jonathan

This fly can trace its origins back to Frank Sawyer the legendary river keeper on the Itchen many years ago. The original was tied with just cock pheasant tail fibres and copper wire. As is always the case, in the course of time, it has had many improvements. It is another old pattern which has been adopted by the Stillwater fishers and modified to suit their needs. It is a pattern which is well worth having in your fly box in a selection of sizes and colours.

A good fly on stillwaters in the larger sizes for trout but in the smaller sizes will take trout, grayling and chub in the rivers.


The Dressing

  • Hook Long shank or wet fly sizes 6, 8 ,10 ,12 and 14.
  • Tail Cock pheasant tail fibres.
  • Rib Copper wire.
  • Body Cock pheasant tail fibres.
  • Thorax Wool, brown, green,  orange,  olive or red.
  • Wing case Cock pheasant tail fibres.
  • Hackle Brown cock hackle fibres/ cock pheasant tail fibres.


Happy Fishing
Dave Cammiss and the Team.


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

michael Griffiths March 30, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Thank you for your superb help to a new fly tyer. I would like to know where to buy the magnifying glass you have on your desk please?
would you be willing to give me a lesson for which I would of course pay?
Thank you,
Michael griffiths

topflyman July 10, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Hi Chris
Thanks for your kind comments.
Bobbin holders……..I must have a dozen of various vintages that I use and as many that I have ditched. I try to confine my threads to Uni thread or Steve Parton. Both do a good range of threads in standard or fine threads. As for bobbin holders I would suggest you get a ‘ceramic’ there are several makes available, they cost more but are worth the extra. You can adjust the arms to the tension that suits you. uk
Hope this helps.
Happy Fishing
DaveC. and the Team

Chris Hart July 9, 2008 at 4:28 am

Mr. Cammiss,
Thanks so much for the excellent site! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning to tie flies by watching your videos. I have a trivial question for you. The bobbins that I have been using irritate me beyond explanation and I want one that runs as smoothly as yours seems to move in your videos. Which one do you use? Please recommend a reliable namebrand or something along those lines, so that I don’t have to go buying all sorts of bobbins before I find ‘the one.’ I know it seems like a silly question, but since you’re the only fly-tyer I know of, I have to ask. Thanks again for the site!

Mark Fairley April 15, 2008 at 1:09 am

Great website and great flies.
I’ve always tied the klinkhammer with a white antron hacklepost at different lengths depending on ripple/visability. Having a fluorescent colour, clipped down seems to make more sense. Using a good floatant on the hackle post will make the fly cock naturally in the water and obscure the hacklepost from underneath. If you use natural fibres for the body dubbing the hook-part will sink below the surface film and hold enough bubbles to provoke reaction from the fish and not too much to spook them. Failing that, squeezing out the bubbles before casting works too.
On the subject of Klinkhammers- I first used one during a March Brown hatch on the River Tay at Redgorton but noticed that the seagulls were plucking the naturals from the edge of the riffles and the boulders on the edge of the bank. (I was getting rises and interest from the skyrats).
I changed my cast from a single fly 9′ to one Klinkhammer to 14′ with a Klinkhammer dropper @ 9′ and a size 14 hares ear nymph on the point. The bob fly acts as a sight-bob (it’s not cheating!) and occasionally a hungry trout will take a swipe at that too.

topflyman March 25, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Hi Guy
I will need to sit down and work something out. I never use dries and tie up spiders, wets and nymphs for my personal use on our rver. Once I have got this jet lag out my head I will see if I can programme some dries…….have you tried the klinkhamer?
DaveeC and the Team

topflyman March 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Hi Rob
nice to know you like the vids. spreading the word is my small way of putting something back in to my favourite sport.
Any help you need just ask.
DaveC and the Team

topflyman March 25, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Hi Jane
Nice to hear from you again. Glad you liked the vids. Doing this keeps me out of mischief and out from under Jeans feet. Just back from NZ. adifferent world and almost over the jet lag. Keep in touch thro my e-mail. The Avenues never been the same since you left.
Love from us all
ps you would never recognise the lads now.

Rob March 14, 2008 at 11:53 am

Dave, thanks so much for all these high quality instructional videos. I’ve learned alot and look forward to applying these lessons at my vise.

– Rob
New England

Jayne Bishop March 8, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Hello Dave

Have been meaning to look at this since your Christmas card arrived. It is brilliant! You don’t look any different!
Inspired to look at this having just walked ’round Draycote Res and watched all the fisherman being successful.
Love to all

Guy Thomas February 26, 2008 at 9:40 am

Excellent, I haven’t tied any flies since I was a boy but haven started fishing the Usk again your clips have spurred me into action at the vice once more. Any chance of a few drys (Spinners, spent duns etc) for us river men?

Iain Catto February 25, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Just started in to fly tying and your videos are fantastic. Fly tying is quite daunting when first faced with the vast array of materials and equipment. Your videos cut through all this and allow me to concentrate on tying. Keep up the great work- it’s much appreciated.

topflyman February 11, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Hi Brian
You will find that once you have mastered the basics it all falls into place.
Happy fishing
DaveC. and the Team

Brian Fotheringham February 10, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Just started tying and found your site, thank you so much for all the help and instruction.
You make it look so easy.

Best regards

topflyman November 11, 2007 at 7:47 pm

Hi Syer
Nice to know you like what we do. More to follow.

SYER SHULVER November 10, 2007 at 1:51 pm

Have just found your lessons whilst looking to buy materials. Am a complete novice and have only tied one fly at present from instructions in a book. Your video lessons are not only instructional but they bring the whole process to life and make it easy to understand. Brilliant – thanks very much for all your hard work.

Ted Broster October 16, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Hi dave
I have just started tying my own flys and was struggling untill I found your clips I am up to lesson 4,and my fly allmost looks like it might catch something.
Keep up the good work Ted.

topflyman October 16, 2007 at 8:48 am

Hi Rick
Thanks for your comments. This venture is a joint effort between myself and Jon my son, a non fisherman. He is the the technical bod and I just tie the flies. We may do a DVD at some point but it is a lot of hassle and would need marketing.

Rick Ramsey October 16, 2007 at 1:14 am

I just stumbled on to a gold mine. I have read books and looked at pictures but watching you tie and and explain makes tying so much more enjoyable and easier. Can’t wait to try some of these flies on the Rivers here in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Keep up the great work. Looking forward to more fly tying lessons.
Ever think of making a DVD?

Byron Eaton August 19, 2007 at 5:37 pm

Hi dave

I found these videos very beneficial and think you’ve done a fantastic job and are very talented. Can’t wait for the next clips.


Brian Miville July 12, 2007 at 1:06 am

I love how as the complexity of the flies incereases you give more detailed histories of them. Its nice to know how these flies came to be. Keep up the great work, I greedily wait for the next intsallment!

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