When mayflies,and other aquatic insects, hatch they shed their nymph/pupa skin in the process.They also have small airbubbles surrounding them when trying to break the surface film. This can often be a very important trigger to the fish. I think the key is to just give the fish a small hint of this element. The whole point is not to make it to firm and compact. I see a lot of flies tied to please the human eye,and not the eyes of the fish. The old skin is translucent and often it still carries small silvery air bubbles in or around it. Personally I think the best method is the one deviced by G. LaFontaine on his Halo Mayfly Emerger. To create this illusion he simply winds a few strands of antron down the hook shank. Be sure to wind them loosly,and never use to much. This has worked well for me in various hatching situations. The second method that I use is just a small amount of cdc hanging behind the actual pattern.
Being an old dj I like to mix things up sometimes. And yes,I´ve got a hang up on emergers and it is again caused by inspiration. The first is Dave Wiltshire´s Cdc Emerger and the second one being The Sparkle Dun Variant. Now,blend in some Gary La Fontaine and you´ve got these two all mixed up patterns. My guess is that these will fish quite well. Hook is the brilliant TMC 212Y.
I had the book signed by Gary when I met him in Norway back in 1991.
The Halo Mayfly Emerger is an odd looking creature, but it works! Again it´s the “halo” that is the most eyecatching feature of the fly. Probably the most important feature is the butt made from clear antron fibers. The halo must be made from clear polyurethane foam, not closed cell foam. The clear foam gives of an aura of light above the thorax. La Fontaine says that this state lasts only 10-20 seconds in the life cycle of the mayfly. The spike/wing stub is made from fluorescent orange deer hair and may also be a good trigger. Some of his tests showed that the fish almost never rejected this fly when presented right. I have had success mostly on rivers and streams with this pattern. I have yet to test it seriously on norwegian lakes. This pattern can of course be tied in any color to match the natural.
The Halo Midge Emerger (Original)
Gary La Fontaine was a great fly fisherman. I have read most of his books over and over again. Some of his theories may come across as a bit weird and sometimes to detailed. With the exception of the emergent sparkle pupa and a couple of others I have never really fished his flies a lot. On the other hand, his theories and ideas are with me when tying or fishing. His fly designs are not beautiful flies, they often look strange and awkward. They are effective fishing flies. They are based on what fish see from under the water and what makes it go for the fly. Some of the chapters in his brilliant book “The Dry Fly” certainly give food for thought on a lot of subjects concerning the way we think of imitations.
One of the imitations that interested me from the start were The Halo Midge Emerger. It doesn’t quite look like a midge pupa, but Fontaine states that it is enough for the pattern to simply rest partly in and partly under the water. Further he says: “The shape of an emerging midge pupa is critical to proper imitation, but it is not the triggering characteristic. The most important aspect of the natural is the quicksilver brightness of the air within the transparent outer sheath. If an air bubble is visible in the emerging insect, it overwhelms every other feature”