Fly Tied By:
Garry Payne, owner of The Fly
Hatchery, Twizel, South Island, New
Story By: Ed Laine,
Home: Charlotte, North
Ed started trout fishing when he was seven
years old and is now passing on his skills to his grandson and
sometime fishing pal, Alexander McDonald. When Ed is not
fishing the Carolina Smoky Mountains he works as a
The Royal Wulff slapped the right side of my fedora
a split second before the Pheasant and Copper nymph dropper buried
itself deeply, high and hard, into my left cheek. The nymph was only
an #18 and I flatten the barbs on my flies so I just pinched the
bend of the hook and yanked it out, only then remembering the guide
had tied on one of his flies Ė barbed.
This 7 1/4 lb. brown was taken with
#18 Pheasant and Copper, on 5x tippet.
Steve Carey of Twizel, South Island, NZ
is holding the fish.
The huge brown had not moved, the guide, frustrated
with my performance, was up on the bank, crouched behind a bush,
pointing and shouting instructions, and the wind was still roaring
down the valley. I was wading wet in glacier-fed, cold water,
grinning and bleeding and ducking, lest my next cast be equally
astray. Yet, there was no place on Godís green earth I would rather
have been at that very moment than right there, hip pocket-deep, in
New Zealandís Ahuriri River.
The blood sacrifice apparently assuaged the river
gods for the wind slackened just long enough for me to launch a
guide-pleasing cast. The dry and the dropper slipped through the
small gap between the rock and the turf overhang, drag-free. "He
took the dropper! LIFT! LIFT!", yelled the guide, loud enough to
make the nearby sheep scurry off. I was into a very good brown with
a size #18 nymph on a 5X tippet, a 5-weight Winston and a Hardy LRH.
Thus, we ran the banks a bit until I got the fish into some slow
water about 100 yards down-river. Seven and one-quarter pounds on
the netís scale. I thanked the river gods as I released the fish,
and then rinsed the dried blood from my cheek. Fair exchange by any
rig as described in this story.
--Ed Laine, "Buxtehude"
Pheasant and Copper as
tied by Garry Payne
Photo by Peter Frailey
Sizes 10-18, Daiichi 1560 or
Tiemco 3761 (or other 1x long nymph hook).
Black 6/0 or 8/0, depending on hook size.
Tail: Three cock ringneck pheasant tail
fibers, tied in at approximately the length of the hook gap
Underbody: Same tail fibers wrapped
Rib: Bright copper wire of appropriate
gauge for the hook size, tied in at tail and wrapped forward. Note
extra wraps for the thorax.
Wing Case: Ringneck
fibers folded forward over wire thorax.
larger sizes, pull or pluck a few tag ends or wing case fibers out
to the side.
Remarks: This fly is essentially a modified
Pheasant Tail Nymph (PTN) with extra copper rib wraps
over the thorax to add weight and glitter. Frank Sawyer,
the famous English riverkeeper originated the PTN many
years ago. This version is Garry Payneís adaptation for
New Zealandís South Island browns and rainbows, where it
is often used as a dropper.