By Nick Simonson
Two great upland birds whose feathers go together on a fly like they do in a game pouch are the rooster pheasant and the Hungarian partridge. The Bead-Thorax Pheasant Tail (BTPT) soft hackle fly is a pheasant tail nymph variant that gets down with some flash and some extra vibration from its partridge collar. Whether it’s panfish or trout, this combo pattern presents all those perfect qualities of a standard nymph and a soft hackle to keep them all biting.
Hook: Nymph Size 12-16
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: PT Fibers
Rib: Gold Wire
Abdomen: Wrapped PT Fibers
Thorax: Gold Bead
Wingcase: Folded PT Fibers
Hackle: Partridge Breast Feather
First, slide a gold bead on the hook, and let it rest up near the hookeye (1). Then start the thread on the hook and tie in 6 to 8 PT fibers and some gold wire, forming a small tail over the bend of the hook (2). Advance the thread to the point just more than halfway up to the hookeye and let it hang there, then wrap the PT fibers forward up the hook, forming the abdomen of the fly, and secure them with a couple wraps of thread (3). Counter-wrap the gold wire over the abdomen to help hold the fibers in place, forming the rib; tie off the wire with a few wraps of thread, and trim the excess (4).
Now, slide the gold bead back on the fly to the thorax location, and advance your thread over the bead and take a few wraps back and forth; fold the PT fibers over the top of the bead to form the wingcase and the thorax. Tie down the PT fibers and trim the excess (5).
From that point, tie in a breast feather from a Hungarian partridge to form the soft-hackle collar (6). Wrap it twice around the hookshank before securing it with a couple of thread wraps and trimming off the excess. Whip finish the fly forming a small thread head and your BTPT soft hackle is complete.
The BTPT is a great all-purpose fly that combines the bugginess of a nymph, the subtle pulsation of a wet fly, and the flash and weight of a bead version to get the total package down in the water column. Try using different colored beads and wire to find the combination that works best for the fish in any water and tie up a bunch as spring gets closer.