It’s winter in this part of the world and cold air is streaming down from the north, making these January nights the perfect occasion to stay inside and tie up your spring and summer arsenal for whatever lurks in your waters. I am constantly exploring new ways to use the feathers from my favorite upland bird – the ringneck pheasant – and have quite a supply to work with after this autumn’s success. Here are two streamer patterns – one a bit wild, the other more natural – that I’ve found to be fun ties; a bit more challenging than your standard pheasant fly fair, and dynamite on many species, especially bass.
The Pheasant Matuka
The matuka is a streamer that can be tied with just about any long feather on the pheasant’s body, but traditionally, it’s tied with the elongated church window feathers from the upper back. It makes for a shad-like profile so it looks like a big baitfish and has a subtle shimmy in the water – great for bass and big trout.
Hook: Streamer, Size 1-8
Thread: Red 6/0
Tail & Wing: Elongated Church Window Feathers
Body: 3 Strands of Peacock Herl
Rib: Medium Copper Wire
Collar: Pheasant Rump Hackle
Start by securing your thread on the hook and tie a three-inch-long piece of copper wire on top of the hook shank, leaving some room behind the hook eye. Then, tie in three strands of peacock herl at the bend
The Pheasant Tail Craw
If you’re bored with nymphs and other standard flies that use the pheasant tail fibers to form their bodies, wings and tails, here’s a pattern that will up your winter excitement at the vise. Use this craw on smallmouth bass, rock bass and trout to solve a tough bite in a pinch!
Hook: Streamer 4-10
Thread: Brown 6/0
Weight: Lead wire
Claws: Split group of PT fibers
Antennae: Krystal Flash
Eyes: 20# mono or bead chain
Hackle: Small brown saddle
Body: Nymph dubbing
Rib: Copper wire
Shellback: PT fibers
Start with a few wraps of lead wire behind the hook eye for weight, then: