The simplest way to achieve articulation & movement in a fly is to construct it out of materials which possess those qualities (cute as those hinging shanks are). And still truly masterful is achieving beauty through functional simplicity that is easily duplicated.
I can think of no material more useful to a fly tier than a complete cock ringneck pheasant cape. A pheasant cape will supply you with an assortment of soft feathers in an array of colorations from cream to black, & with some imitative combinations. The very soft, marabou-like ‘rump’ feathers found at the base of the tail are great for use as hackle collars, tailing, & also a lively topping or ‘wing’ for streamer flies – a ‘soft-wing’, if you will. I like these better than marabou for a lot of applications. The feather fibers have a little bit more spine than marabou & hold shape better. Pheasant rump feathers are available strung, in natural & dyed colors.
I intended the Pheasant Dace as a generic, all-purpose minnow pattern to simulate dace, chub, trout parr, sculpin, or most any baitfish found in trout waters, & I’ve found that it travels well.
Hook: #8 up-eye steelhead style or streamer hook (the heavy wire steelhead style weights the fly & gets it deeper)
Tail: Golden pheasant crest feather – cupped side up -- same length as the body
Body: Silver tinsel (holographic tinsel might be a nice touch – red tinsel can be wound over the front quarter of the body to simulate gills – I apply a drop of Loon Hard Head & paint it over the tinsel with my needle)
Topping: Constructed similar to a flatwing, the pheasant feathers trained back & then tied in horizontal, cupped side down. Materials stacked thus: 1) pinch of white bucktail to form a base or ‘spine’ to support the wing, extending to about the tip of the tail; 2) a natural ‘cream’ pheasant rump feather; 3) two strands of olive flash to create a lateral line; 4) a natural dark pheasant rump feather
Throat: A small clump of yellow hackle fibers
Cheek: Jungle cock nails – & finish
Fish NE Washington with Steven Bird: http://ucflyfishing.blogspot.com