By Nick Simonson
With pheasant season underway and the temperatures suggesting that a winter of fly tying isn’t all that far off, the Twisted Pheasant streamer is a great way to bring together the attractive coloration of a rooster with a little extra flash from some heavy metal. A pattern that triggers fish across many species – bass, trout, bluegills and crappies – it gets its added weight from the twisted wire underbody which helps it get down into the strike zone, while the undulating pheasant feather fibers sell the illusion of something edible. Part woolly bugger, part marabou streamer, and a whole lot of fun to twist together on the vise, the pattern is easy to customize in colors that work for the fish, especially with what’s available on the natural palette of a rooster pheasant’s pelt!
Hook: 2XL Streamer, Size 12 to 6
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: Dark Pheasant Marabou
Body: Twisted Medium Ultrawire
Hackling: Long Church Window Feather
Collar: Rust Pheasant Rump Feather
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Before starting the fly, twist together four strands of medium ultrawire in various colors. For this example, it’s gold, silver, black and copper. Twist them together tightly so they wrap around one another and form a pattern of the various colors. Once the wire is completely twisted, trim off any excess and save the main wire for the fly. Select a pinch of dark pheasant marabou, a long church window feather and a rump feather from a full-colored rooster skin and get ready to wrap!
Start the fly by tying in a pinch of pheasant marabou to form a tail about 3/4 the length of the hook shank (1). Then tie the twisted ultrawire in over the marabou tail, letting it hang off the back of the fly (2). Third, tie in a large church window feather, found between the wing and the upper back of a rooster pheasant by the shorter fibers at the tip of the plume and advance the thread to just behind the hook eye (3).
Wrap the twisted wire forward forming the underbody of the fly and tie off and trim, leaving a bit of space behind the hook eye (4). Wrap the large church window feather forward evenly over the wire underbody forming the hackling, tie off and trim where the wire body ends, securing both with a few more thread wraps (5). Once secure, tie in the rust-colored rump feather by the base and advance the thread to the hook eye (6). Wrap the rump feather around the hook shank up to the hook eye and then secure it in place, tie off, trim and whip finish, forming a small thread head to complete the fly (7).
Use the Twisted Pheasant streamer when fish are taking leeches, crayfish and larger aquatic prey. Switch out the wire colors to match confidence hues on any given water or substitute a green wire and a green-trimmed rump feather for a different combination and something that resembles a damselfly or dragonfly nymph when it’s pulsed through the water column on a sink-tip line in lakes and ponds. Add a cone or bead head in black or gold to tack on some weight and more flash – there are so many ways to make this streamer, but no matter how they’re dressed up, they will catch fish of all stripes!