feather game changer

J. Stockard Jr Pro Tyer: Braden Miller, Follow Braden on Instagram @millertimeflies

Norvise started a March Madness Tournament to give the Norvise Tiers group and Facebook followers something else to focus on instead of the Coronavirus and everything it brought with it.  I was grateful I won my bracket in round one, Nymphs, with my Mayfly Nymph Changer I tied with Flymen Fish Company’s new Fish Skull Chocklett’s Articulated Micro-Spines. 

When Norvise announced round two of the competition was Streamers I was a little worried because my bracket competitor was a friend of mine and a fellow Norvise Ambassador, Ed Hayes.  Ed ties gamechangers extremely well and he has been tying a lot of them during the stay at home order.  I knew I had to bring my best up against Ed.  Luckily, my mentor and friend Blane Chocklett posted a Full Dressed GameChanger he recently tied.  I have never tied a game changer like this before and knew it was going to be tough.  It took me about an hour and forty-five minutes to tie this fly and lots of Pheasant feathers.  I was very happy with how the fly turned out and entered it as my round two entry.  My Full Dressed Feather GameChanger went over well in round two of the Norvise March Madness Tournament and I was lucky to make it to round three.

Feather Dressed Game Changer Materials List

Articulated Shanks

  • 1 - Flymen Fish Co. Tail Shanks
  • 1 - Flymen Fish Co. Articulated Fish Spine - 10mm
  • 3 - Flymen Fish Co. Articulated Fish Spine - 15mm
  • 1 - Flymen Fish Co. Articulated Fish Spine - 20mm


Under Body


Shingled Feathers (Topside)



  • 30 pound Nylon Coated Wire (for example bead wire from craft store)

Pectoral Fins

  • Various Pheasant Feathers from a cape


  • Pheasant Rump




Feather Game Changer

Feather Dressed Game Changer Tying Instructions

Tail Shank

  1. Place a Flymen Fish Co. Tail Shank in the jaws of your vise.
  2. Tie in your Finesse Chenille, wrap it one to one and a half wraps and snip it off. 
  3. Trim the chenille slightly so the material is not so bulky (You are using this to prop up the palmered feather). 
  4. Choose a pheasant rump feather with the fact that it is going to be your tail once palmered. 
  5. Take your feather, grab the tip as if you are tying a soft hackle, stroke back the fibers and snip the tip making a triangle, tie in the feather and begin palmering forward, making tight turns. 
  6. Once you are at the eye of the shank, tie off the shank with either a whip finish or half hitches. 
  7. I like to apply some Solarez Bone Dry and cure it with my UV light.

Second Shank

  1. Next, clip a Flymen Fish Co. 10mm shank onto your finished tail shank.
  2. Place your 10mm shank into your jaws and begin your thread closing the shank.
  3. After that tie in your finesse chenille and make one to two wraps, stroking back the feathers, making sure not to trap any fibers and tie off your chenille.
  4. Next, pick two small hen saddles, keep in mind you will be starting at the top of the hen saddles and working down the cape which will make your fly have a natural taper as you proceed tying on the rest of your shanks.
  5. After choosing your hen saddles, you will place the two directly on top of each other with the tips matching.
  6. Then, just like the pheasant rump, grab the tips, stroke back the fibers, snip them to make them look like a triangle and tie them in by the tips.
  7. Begin palmering them forward while stroking back the fibers so you do not wrap over any fibers.
  8. Once you reach the shank eye, tie them off.
  9. Now, you will want to choose three feathers off of the pheasant cape, you can use either the rump feathers or any others you choose from the cape, you will want three matching feathers or two matching for the sides and a different one for the one laying over the back.
  10. After you have chosen your feathers, tie in the side feathers first and then tie in your back feather, layering over your palmered hen saddles and side feathers.
  11. Next tie off and finish with a UV resin or glue.

Third Shank

  1. Now that the tail and 10mm shank are finished, attach a 15mm shank to the 10mm shank, and place it in the jaws of your vise.
  2. Just like your last two shanks, close the shank with your thread and tie in your chenille, making three to four wraps and trim it slightly.
  3. Again, choose your hen saddles, this time you will want three feathers farther down your cape.
  4. Place all three feathers on top of each other, stroke back the fibers making a good tie in point, again snip the tips off making a triangle and tie them in.
  5. Begin palmering them forward to the shank eye.
  6. Tie off your feathers and repeat the process for your Pheasant feathers (remember to choose slightly larger feathers) on both the top and sides.
  7. Finally tie off and finish with a UV resin or glue.

Fourth Shank

  1. Clip in another 15mm shank into the previously finished 10mm shank.
  2. Repeat all of the steps you did for the third shank. 

**Remember to increase the size feathers you choose to ensure your fly gets the taper of a Game Changer.

Fifth Shank

This will be the final shank and you will want to repeat the same steps for the third and fourth shank. 

**Remember to choose larger feathers so you continue to increase the taper.

***For this last shank I used Chocklett’s GameChanger Chenille instead of finesse chenille to bulk up the hen saddle and increase the taper on the fly giving it a larger profile. This will increase the action and make the fly swim more realistic. ***


  1. Place the hook into the vise and start by getting a good thread base.
  2. Cut a small length of wire and tie it in.
  3. Tie down the wire a little ways down the base so when you tie it down the bend so when you tie it down with the tail end, the whole tail section is in line with the hook shank.
  4. Next, tie in some Game Changer chenille and palmer it up, 4 wraps and tie it off.
  5. Tie in three schlappen feathers and begin to palmer them up to the eye.
  6. Tie in your side and top Pheasant feathers.
  7. Choose two exact feathers for your pectoral fins, tie them with the shiny side in so the feathers curve out like a real pectoral fin.
  8. Now you will repeat the process without the pectoral fins, make sure to leave room for the head.


  1. Make two or three wraps using Game Changer chenille.
  2. Palmer three schlappen feathers.
  3. Then tie in one Pheasant feather on top.
  4. Now tie in a Pheasant rump feathers on each side, laying on the palmered schlappen.
  5. Choose two jungle cock eyes for each side.
  6. Finally tie off and finish with the glue or UV resin of your choice. 

You now have yourself a Full Dressed GameChanger!

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