Sawyer Pheasant Tail Nymph (the daily fly paper blog)

One man’s opinion, albeit a pretty noteworthy man, FRANK SAWYER, that the basic bug shape is all that is necessary and that more important is the presentation…the imparting of swimming or locomotion or drifting, that the bug would make. Sawyer believes all those materials are a matted mess and of little value in suggesting life and triggering a response. Hmm, not sure when his piece was written. But, dare I say I disagree. Yes, presentation is quite important, perhaps most important at times. But, today’s patterns and materials may sometimes be a matted mess when pulled out of the water (marabou, ostrich etc.) but they come alive once back in the water. Every little bit helps to suggest life, movement or struggling.Those that totally collapse are not the right materials.

“…the point I wished to make when I started this article – which simply is to question the need to make artificials with wings and legs and which to us look like flies, when what the fish expect to see are tyings which conform very closely to the form of nymphs.  Why not construct nymphal patterns in the first place and then fish them in an imitation of nymph behaviour?”

“Years ago I came to the conclusion that no fibres are necessary to suggest legs on artificial nymphs for, as I explained in my book “Nymphs and the Trout,” when nymphs swim, their legs are held in streamline form, and therefore should not be noticed by fish, or if so, only as part of the body.  Time has proved this to be true for today the “Sawyer” patterns are used throughout the world and many thousands of fish have been deceived by them.

Nymphs tied in true nymphal form are much easier to construct than any patterns of wet-flies, and though perhaps the finished articles are not so spectacular to look at from the human point of view, it is the fish that must act as the judges.”
Mr. Sawyer is akin to the person that comes to the birthday party, looks about and says, “nonsense, take down the balloons. Put away those silly hats and whistles. A cake and one candle will do.” Pure, streamlined responses like the flies. Can you say boring if that is all there is? Efficient…yes. Interesting…No. Perhaps my intuitive ADD response, I have never cared much for the simplest Sawyer Pheasant Tail Nymph, but then I never cared much for the opposite end, the bedraggled Hare’s Ear Nymph. Oh my. Perhaps somewhere in the middle? Life impressions plus presentation? Relax..just a bit of tongue in cheek. I hate those big mylar balloons too.

American PTN (Mike Hughes NZ)