A quick search on the internet, or flick through the pages of a magazine, will present to you a large number of different tyings and variations on the Pheasant Tail Nymph.
Tied by Frank Sawyer, a river keeper on the upper reaches of the River Avon (Hampshire), this pattern has stood the test of time.
Originally this was tied using just the fibres from a cock-pheasant tail and some copper wire. It is still as effective today as it ever was.
The tutorial opposite is, to be truthful, not the original dressing. I have used thread in place of copper wire. However, the concept remains the same - a neat, nicely-profiled nymph pattern. Fished dead-drift or with a 'induced take' this is a stunning pattern for trout and grayling.
Hook: Your choice of hook
Thread: Olive Moser Power-Silk 10/0
Rib: Copper wire
Tail / Abdomen / Wing cases: Cock Pheasant tail fibres
I tied these in a range weights - and I find changing the dressing can help me achieve this:
Tied with Copper wire in place of thread, this version has a layer of copper along the hook shank and then several layers in the thorax:
The pheasant tail fibres have been wound around the rib here and then wound. This allows for a neat, segmented body whilst giving the fibres some extra durability.
Also, the above pattern uses the tips from the wing bud fibres as legs. A simple addition really - it's just about getting the length of the wing buds fibres correct. See the tutorial instructions for more details.
Ballast can also come in the form of flat, adhesive lead. A layer before tying in the thread can also help to build the desired profile: