By Nick Simonson
If you’re looking for a fly that totally catches fish, is completely customizable, and best of all is easy to tie, look no further than Al Campbell’s Swept Hackle Wing All Purpose Fly – or “SHWAPF” for short. This two-material pattern can be tied with just about any feather or hair for the wing and material for the body, but to make it fall in line with our series (and just because pheasant is the ultimate fish-catching material – no bias here) we’re using pheasant tail (PT) fibers for this one.
Hook: Nymph or Dry Size 10-14
Thread: Black 6/0
Wing/Case: 8 PT Fibers
Body: 5 Strands Krystal Flash
Start by tying in eight pheasant tail (PT) fibers by the butt about one hook eye length behind the hook eye of your hook, the fibers extending beyond the hook should be about twice as long as the hook shank (1). You can use a nymph or a dry, either is fine and will catch fish – use what you have available.
Next, tie in five strands of krystal flash material over the area where you tied in the PT fibers so they also hang off the back of the hook; advance your thread to just behind the hook eye (2). Wrap the krystal flash fibers forward forming a slightly football-shaped body that is a bit thicker in the middle, and tie the fibers off just behind the hook eye and trim off the excess material (3).
Fold the PT fibers forward and secure them in place with a couple thread wraps, forming the case of the fly (4). Then fold the fibers back and secure them with a few more thread wraps, forming the start of a thread head, making sure the fibers are distributed evenly around the top half of the fly (5). From there, build up the thread head, whip finish and add a tiny drop of head cement for posterity (6).
A single pheasant tail feather can tie up dozens of these flies and they’re cheap and easy to create – you could do 20 in an hour once you get the pattern down. Substitute peacock herl, yarn or dubbing for the krystal flash if you like for a well-rounded selection. Switch the black thread to bright orange or red for some added attraction as well. Totally customizable, fun and easy to tie – that’s how Al intended it!