In the years since Frank Sawyer created his ubiquitous Pheasant Tail Nymph, tied using just pheasant tail fibers and copper wire, the fly has undergone several incarnations here in the USA. Many of these variations involve the addition of peacock herl for the thorax, and legs, and of course there are several beadhead pheasant tail patterns widely used. All of these variation have one thing in common; the use of thread to bind the materials to the hook. Sawyer's version, meant to imitate the slender, streamlined Baetis sp. nymphs so common in the chalkstreams of England, is elegant in its simplicity and very effective. It's my preferred version, which I often fish alone on a long leader and light tippet, straight upstream. Whether I'm fishing the shallow riffles of an Eastern freestone, or those of the Madison River, the fly produces.
Sharpen your hooks!