I've tried a lot of different materials,
colors, and techniques for the "wing" of
an emerger. They all work and seem to be
equally effective. My thinking is that the
wing isn't nearly as important to the trout
in the design of the emerger as is the shorter
tail; the darker, fatter body; and the darker
(darker than the adult dun), parachute-style
hackle I put on all my emergers. I believe the
most important function of the wing on an emerger
is visibility for the fly angler. A ball of light
gray poly dubbing, a short post of light gray poly
yarn, a short loop of poly yarn, or a light gray
turkey T-base segment are all good visible wings
for the emerger. If there is any advantage of
these materials over other in terms of effectiveness,
it's being able to see a size 20 emerger floating
in the crease of a current or, even worse, right
in the middle of a riffle. If you can see your fly,
you're going to see the strike. I've watched fly
fishers using emergers who obviously couldn't see
their fly and did not detect the take they got
from nearly every other cast. Have you ever
wondered why a fly a fly that is supposed to float
often appears to be a wet fly at the end of your
drift? Two of the most over-looked reasons are
severe drag and undetected takes.
Most poly years contain three or four separate strands.
Use only one segment of it. One-third or one-fourth
the size of the original yarn is plenty. Tie in the
poly yarn at the same point on the hook shank as you
would for a standard dry-fly parachute. The wing-post
segment should be exposed to a length of about 3/8 inch.
Clip off the butt and stand the wing post up the same
as well, including wrapping and lacquering the base.
You can forget about fighting with a gallows tool if
you do it this way. Clip the upright post to a length
that is no longer than the hook-gap distance. ~ A.K. Best
Credits: Excerpt from Production Fly Tying
by A.K. Best and published by Pruett Publishing Company.
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Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the Bulletin Board, here at FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them to