Consider the humble Pheasant Tail. Basic brown. Unpretentious. Traditional. Looks like nothing specific and a lot of things in general. Add a bead head — copper, if you please, which feels more understated than gold. But let’s not stop there. Let’s give our fly the breath of life. A soft hackle will do. Webby brown hen that pulses and moves and whispers to the fish, “I’m alive.”
If you told me I had to choose one fly to fish for trout for the rest of my life, it would be a soft-hackled bead head Pheasant Tail. You can fish it like a nymph, fish it like a wet, or do both. All on the same drift. Woo-hoo!