Fly Tying: The Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph

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Article contributed by Field Staff Writer M. Spencer.

While incredibly similar to the classic Pheasant Tail Nymph, I prefer the Flashback variant for both it’s ease of tying and the way it stands out. This fly can be tied anywhere from size 8 down to 20 or even smaller. I prefer to keep them around a 14 or 16, though. In that size they resemble any number of smaller mayfly, damselfly, or even stonefly larvae. Click “Read More” for step by step instructions.

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Hook: 1 or 2x Wet Fly or Nymph hook of your choice.

Tail: 5-10 Pheasant tail fibers.

Abdomen: 3 or 4 Pheasant tail fibers, wrapped like hackle.

Rib: Copper (or whatever color you prefer) UTC Ultra Wire, sized to match fly.

Wingcase: 5-10 strands of Pearl or Rootbeer Krystal Flash OR a strand of Pearl Flashabou.

Adbomen: Peacock herl fibers or dubbing. I prefer using AZ Synthetic Peacock or Flytyersdungeon Mr. Peackock dubbings, picked out to give a buggy appearance.

Bead: Optional. More often than not I’ll tie mine with either a brass or tungsten bead.


Step 1: Starting your thread just behind the hook eye (or bead if you’re using one), wrap a layer of thread back to the bend of the hook.

Step 2: Tie in your tail fibers. I try to shoot for a tail about the length just longer than the hook gap, but a little longer or shorter has never hurt anything.

Step 3: Tie in your ribbing wire followed by the pheasant fibers for the abdomen.

Step 4: Bringing your thread just past halfway between the bend and the eye (or the bead), wrap your Pheasant tail up to this point and tie off, followed by your ribbing wire, wrapped in the opposite direction to help secure the PT Fibers.

Step 5: Facing toward the bend of the hook, tie in your wingcase material.

Step 6: Tie in and wrap (if you’re using peacock) or wrap your dubbed body to the eye of the hook (or the bead).

Step 7: Pull your wingcase over the thorax and tie off right behind the eye (or bead) with a couple tight wraps, whip finish, and cement.

A.J. Fick

Born and raised in northeast Pennsylvania, I’ve lived in southern California, central Texas, and currently reside in western Idaho. I consider myself a western hunter at heart, enjoying being part of vast landscapes and the thrill of the stalk. One of my hunting mottos is “stretch the stalk, not the shot”. My motivations as an outdoorsman are rooted in the sustenance, independence, and challenging physical aspects. In fact, my largest driving factor for physical fitness is preparing for upcoming hunts and ensuring I’m well-prepared to climb mountains and cover ground with a heavy pack. I also recognize and respect the importance of conservation efforts for our wild animals and wild places and the close connection to hunting and fishing. If we want future generations to experience the wonder and adventure of the outdoors, and gain the countless benefits, we must continue to make wildlife conservation today’s priority to ensure continued opportunity.

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