Tying the Parasol Emerger
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.
PMD Parasol Emerger
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.
Be sure to check out my recent article in the Winter 2011 issue of Flyfishing & Tying magazine on fishing the Parasol Emerger as a slow-water indicator.
Some tying notes:
• I always use 2x mono for the parasol post, regardless of the size fly I’m tying. Larger sizes are too stiff, while smaller sizes tend to droop and then the post, fly and leader often get tangled.
• I always use some type of cement to finish the thread wraps over the mono post prior to tying the finished fly.
• For mayfly patterns tie in the shellback material just ahead of the post (hook eye side) prior to wrapping thorax section
• When fishing the Parasol Emerger, always use a good quality fly floatant on the parasol puff to enhance floatation.
• For the ‘method’ of using the Parasol Emerger as an indicator, tie the trailer fly tippet to the bend of the hook on the parasol fly.
I hope everyone likes this enough to try some out. They work great by themselves as an emerger in the film, or, as an indicator when fishing other emerger types that are difficult to see.