Fly of the Month – Bent Hook Mayfly Emerger

Pattern, Notes and Photograph by John Simonson
Used by permission


Hook: Size #14 Mustad 3906, forward third bent upward

Thread: Brown, size 8/0

Tail: Small amount of zelon and woodduck flank barbs

Body: (bottom two-thirds of hook) Pheasant tail

Ribbing: Brown thread

Collar: Brown dubbing (Australian Opossum) at 2/3 bend location

Hackle: Cream (upper third of hook) – trimmed flush on bottom

Wings/Shuck: Antron fibers, white

Head: Light brown or salmon

This winter I have been thinking a lot about the silhouette of an emerging mayfly as it tries to escape it’s nymphal shuck. One pattern I have used in the past is the parachute emerger with the wing standing straight up and the hackle wrapped around the wing. I have also used Sparkle comparaduns to mimic the emerging mayfly duns. Although these are effective patterns I have never really been satisfied with the wing silhouette, which I feel should slant back towards the tail of the fly, not straight up into the air.

If you ever see a photo of an emerging mayfly you should notice the nymphal body is hanging in the film and the emerging dun’s wing is slanted back over the surface of the water. So recently I started bending the front 1/3 of the hook up about 30 degrees or slightly more and tying the hackle and wing on the bent up portion of the hook. This forces the wing to slant backwards over the body and its appearance does a better job of resembling the real mayflies as they emerge.

I have tried floating them in a large bowl of water and the fly sits perfectly with the body hanging in the film. the ultimate test will be this Spring with the trout.

More flies by John Simonson are at

(May 2012 newsletter)

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