Easy pick­ings

Trout ex­ploit the most vul­ner­a­ble stage of a fly’s life – and so should you. In part two of his se­ries pre­par­ing a fly-box for next sea­son, Alex Jar­dine ties six proven emerg­ers

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - CONTENTS - ALEX JAR­DINE ’S

In the sec­ond part of his se­ries on river flies, Alex Jar­dine looks at emerg­ers

“When pre­sent­ing an emerger pat­tern, it is a good idea to cast fur­ther up­stream of a trout than you would with a dry-fly”

FOR A TROUT TO TAKE AN ADULT FLY from the sur­face re­quires a lot of en­ergy com­pared to wait­ing for a nymph to tum­ble down the cur­rent. That’s why they hone in on flies at their weak­est mo­ments, when they’re least likely to fly away. The ob­vi­ous stage is death, when flies re­turn to the river to lay their eggs and be­come trapped in the sur­face, but there’s a more no­tice­able stage – emer­gence. As a fly as­cends through the sur­face to morph from ju­ve­nile nymph into ado­les­cent or adult, there is a mo­ment when it be­comes stuck. A fly break­ing the sur­face film is the equiv­a­lent of a hu­man push­ing through four feet of soil and there­fore it is no won­der it be­comes ex­hausted and caught be­tween worlds, and bod­ies. This is one of the tragedies of na­ture, but for trout, and an­glers, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to be seized. Un­like stan­dard dry-flies, which are de­signed to sit on or proud of the sur­face, an emerger pat­tern has to match the in­sect be­tween two worlds. There­fore it must sit with roughly half the body sub­merged and half above the sur­face. It is for this rea­son that there is still de­bate over whether an emerger is a dry-fly or a nymph. I think it’s more dry-fly than nymph, but I think it de­serves to be known as a unique stage. Al­ways carry size and colour vari­a­tions for emerg­ers; on chal­leng­ing days hav­ing op­tions can make the dif­fer­ence. The hooks used are often the same as those used for dry-flies. Curved hooks are per­fect for cre­at­ing the half in, half out pro­file. Make sure you know a hook’s prop­er­ties as it may have been de­vel­oped for nymphs and be made from heav­ier wire; in which case, ma­te­ri­als should be se­lected to counter the hook weight. When pre­sent­ing an emerger pat­tern, it is a good idea to cast fur­ther up­stream of a trout than you would with a dry-fly so that the fish does not see it land, for you are rep­re­sent­ing a fly that is yet to leave the wa­ter. This in­creases the chances of un­wanted drag on the fly, so I gen­er­ally fish longer and lighter lead­ers that will negate the ef­fect of cur­rents. In the flat tail of a pool, fish have more time to study your im­i­ta­tion and tip­pet. Make sure you fish as light as pos­si­ble and never leave home with­out a pot of fuller’s earth (leader mud) to dis­guise the tip­pet. Noth­ing beats a trout’s nose slowly break­ing the sur­face to snaf­fle a well-pre­sented emerger.

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