As promised in a different thread and not wanting to hijack that thread I am presenting a step-by-step tutorial on how to tie the Parasol Emerger fly as developed by Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer.
A Brief History
Several Years ago Jim Schollmeyer and Ted Leeson presented an article on the use of a new (to them) concept in fly tying and described the tying and use of flies called Parasol Emergers. Many commented on the article that the concept was not new and credit was given to Fran Betters as the originator of the concept here in the United States. Although Betters’ flies were based on the same principle, anyone can see that the use of a mono post and synthetic fibers for the parasol ‘puff’ do differ from the original Betters patterns. While very few ‘new’ fly concepts have appeared of the past few decades, this one stands out as something quite different from what is generally accepted as an emerger pattern.
The concept itself, tied in common mayfly, caddis and midge emergers, is another good option in a fly-fishers arsenal. Combined as a slack or slow-water indicator, trailed by either a nymph imitation subsurface, or another diminutive emerger pattern in the surface film, the use of the Parasol Emerger then is not only an attractive offering but a very effective method to fool finicky fish – especially in spring creek settings.
After puzzling as to how to fool the PhD educated brown trout of my favorite spring creek I discovered this method which offered flies to these spooky fish without using a foreign strike indicator or large dry fly that spooked the fish. The parasol floats like a cork; the pattern hanging from the post is tied to imitate whatever may be hatching at the time, followed by nymphs or emergers that are prevalent in the water. The fish don’t shy from the parasol as an indicator and any take, no matter how subtle, is transmitted to the parasol fly and hookups are greatly increased.
I thank Leeson and Schollmeyer for their innovation and creative tying methods. I have experimented with numerous patterns, with my own creativity being the only roadblock. Not much has been written since the original introduction of the fly concept by Leeson and Schollmeyer, although the patterns have shown up as commercial offerings from many well-known fly suppliers.
I’ve used the method in many different applications, from my local spring creek, to shallow slack-water along many famous trout streams, to still-water. One of my favorite days was early in the development of this method. I was fishing the famous Railroad Ranch stretch of the Henry’s Fork and found myself on the technical piece of water located between Last Chance and the Ranch cabins. I managed to fool my first Ranch fish using this method during a time when I saw no one catching fish. This experience made me a firm believer and I committed to making it a regular method I would use wherever I found myself.
My favorite spring creek is still where I love to fish most, and, after several years of using and refining this method on this water, I still find myself catching an incredible number of the big beastie browns that reside there, and I attribute my success to the method as well as the flies we’ve developed to compliment the method.
There is a bit of a learning curve to making good looking parasols, but it comes fairly easy and the flies in and of themselves just plain look cool! Having said all of this, I make no claim as to the originality of the Parasol Emerger, I give all of that credit to Mr. Betters, Schollmeyer, and Leeson, just that I have made it a point to concentrate on the best uses of the concept as well as developing some effective patterns which I tie below the parasol.
Once again I'd like to point you to the article I had published in the Winter 2011 edition of Flyfishing & Tying Journal
from Amato Books, titled "Spring Creek Strategies", it explains my use of the parasol fly as a slow-water indicator and something my tired eyes can track when fishing either subsurface or trailing small emergers that are just plain tough to see in the film.
Hope you enjoy this tutorial.