Fly of the Month by J. Stockard Pro Tyer:  Justin Aldrich, Haversham Co. GA., find Justin on Instagram and YouTube.

This version of the Pheasant Tail Nymph is just as deadly as any Americanized version, if not deadlier on account of it’s unique Hotspot location. It’s a Hotspot Wingcase, over a glossy Bead Thorax.

Trout these days, especially on highly pressured water, have seen just about everything man has to offer. Hopefully this version will offer something different.

I like to fish this “Mohawk” Hotspot Pheasant Tail as the secondary or dropper fly on a two rig setup. Either Euro Style or Dry/Dropper. Dead drift and/or on the swing has proven best so far.


Hook: Hazard FF / HH11 or Firehole Outdoors 516 BL 60 Degree Jig Hook
Bead: 3.5mm Tungsten Slotted •Thread: Semperfli Spyder, 18/0, Brown
Hotspot: Glo-Brite Floss or UNI Floss Single Strand
Thorax: Peacock Herl
Body: Natural Pheasant Tail
Rib: Ex. Small Copper UTC wire
Tail: Med. Pardo CDL fibers
Adhesive: Sally Hanson’s “Hard as Nails.”

Step by step tying instructions

Start by threading the bead on the hook and seating the hook in the vise so it’s inverted. (Just about vertical.) You want the small section of shank that points down where the bead sits to be horizontal so tying in the Floss is easier.

***The biggest challenge is this next step, because the holes in the beads are very small and often fluctuate slightly in diameter. So the goal is to create as little bulk as possible when tying in the Glo-Brite Floss so the bead will slip over the yarn.***

Prep the Floss by folding over a certain length until you get the appropriate thickness. (Little bit of an experience thing.) You’ll be tying in a few strands at a time. Once I get the desired amount, I catch in the Floss right on top of the shank where the bead sits. (I catch in the Floss and start the thread at the same time to minimize bulk.)

Make as tight and few wraps as possible. Afterwards make a whip finish on the bare shank and snip the thread off close. Then finally use a very thin varnish or superglue on the thread wraps to help secure the yarn in.

*Afterwards your tying a basic Pheasant Tail variant.

Now reposition the hook in the vise to sit horizontally. Reattach the thread right behind the bead and make a few tight thread wraps jamming the bead snug into the eye of the hook.
Advance the thread to just before the bend, then measure a few CDL fibers the length of the shank or slightly longer. Capture the tail fibers in and secure the butts up the shank of the hook. Snip off any excess right behind the bead.

Secure in the Rib on the near side of the shank closest to you just behind the bead, and trap down all the way to just before the tail. Next catch in a few Pheasant Tail fibers on the near side of the shank right in front of the tail. Now secure in those butts up the shank as well.

***The name of the game while tying in these materials is to keep a nice level and uniformed taper to the underbody….. like a carrot.***

Bring the Pheasant Tail fibers up the shank in touching turns to just before the bead, secure down. Next start counter wrapping the wire in evenly spaced turns and secure down just behind the bead.

Now the Hotspot. The “hard” part is already done. Now all you need to do is take the Floss Hospot material and cord it up. Spin it in your fingers fairly tight, then fold it back snug over the bead as centered as you can get it. Your thread is hanging there right behind the bead, so just capture down the Floss behind the bead with a few tight wraps and snip off the butt ends of material.

Finally, secure in a couple strands of Peacock herl, add a tiny amount of superglue behind the bead, and make 2 to 4 wraps with the Peacock until it’s tight against the bead. Capture down the butt ends with a couple turns of thread and snip off the excess. Now just make a 3-4 turn whip finish and snip off thread close.

The Fly at this point is initially done, ready to fish. But the Hotspot being in such a “contact” location for the bottom of the stream, we need to do our best to protect it.

So far I’ve found the best way to do that is this. First use a superglue that doesn’t cloud up. Loctite Superglue is a good one. Don’t coat the entire bead, only the Floss material. It takes a very tiny amount and it binds all the fibers together and secures it to the bead better. Let the superglue completey 110% dry before moving on to the next step. Afterward I use a tiny amount of U.V. Resin Flex. The brand is your choice, so far I prefer Deer Creek. I personally like to coat the entire bead with a very thin layer or two.

***In my testing I’ve found that a thicker coat actually has more of a tendency to chip and flake away more easily than a thin one.***


  1. have you considered :
    1. add the bead to the hook
    2. place hook in vise and slide bead up the hook shank to the proper location
    3. attach thread and tie in floss, snug to the bead
    4. pull floss forward over the bead, around the hook eye, and back over the bead
    5. tie down floss and continue with completion of the fly
    it might give you a slightly different appearance but should make it an easier tie.
    nice pattern will have to give it a try

    1. Hi John,

      That’s a fantastic way to speed this tie along without less of a headache. There is always more than one way to skin a rabbit, correct…?
      Great input, thanks so much.

      1. justin,

        your welcome. picked up that method watching a video on tyilng a holy grail. some of these things make me extremely jealous of the present generation. things that took years to figure out are just a touch away on the net making for better tied flies and more innovation.

        tight lines

  2. I like the Mohawk effect. It breaks up the outline of the bead into something more resembling eyes. I’m going to try this on some “suggestive” dragonfly nymphs with a natural colored ‘hawk, for the bass-bluegill lap. Small dumbell eyes work fine, but they accumulate more green gunk than a bead.

    I’ll certainly tie some of these for the trout boxes.

    Thank you! Learning a new technique is far more valuable than learning a new pattern.


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