The Hang Of It - Fly Fishing. Why an Emerger will out fish your dry fly any day

Fly Fishing Emergers. A semi-sunk fly projects more visible stimulus than a high and dry pattern, so it makes a lot of sense to use a design that penetrates the surface film as a ‘searching pattern’, rather than the high-riding flies usually recommended for this job like the Royal Wulff, Humpy or Elk Hair Caddis. For me, the old dry hackle jobs have been moved well down the bench, even for fast broken water.

Fly Fishing Flies

Fly Fishing Emergers

After decades of thinking about trout as cunning and fussy critters with eating disorders, my fly tying programme finally got traction with the ‘trigger’ concept. Behavioural science terms like ‘behavioural releaser’, ‘supernormal stimulus’, ‘optimal foraging strategy’ and ‘fixed action pattern’ entered my angling vocabulary. Everything just sort of came together and for the first time in my angling life started to make sense.

Where we get to with this behavioural business is the rather revolutionary idea that trout are, in fact, not cunning and fussy at all. But they are efficient. The simplest, and therefore probably the correct, explanation for why emergers usually work better than dry dun patterns is simply that trout quickly key onto the prey that is most abundant, most visible, and easiest to catch. 

Fly Fishing Flies Bob Wyatt DHE Deer Hair Emerger Flies best trout flies

Wyatt's DHE - Deer Hair Emerger, simple but deadly.

Repeated encounters with a specific prey item allows the trout to form its ‘searching image’.  Things that fit the trout’s searching image, more or less, almost always get a look. The natural emerger struggling at the surface, with part of its body and shuck penetrating the surface film, is spotted sooner and at longer range than the dun or spinner. 

A semi-sunk fly projects more visible stimulus than a high and dry pattern, so it makes a lot of sense to use a design that penetrates the surface film as a ‘searching pattern’, rather than the high-riding flies usually recommended for this job like the Royal Wulff, Humpy or Elk Hair Caddis. For me, the old dry hackle jobs have been moved well down the bench, even for fast broken water.

Unlike a high floating dry pattern, the trout notices a fly like a semi-sunk Klinkhamer Special or my own pet emerger, the DHE, from a greater distance and locks onto it. These flies share the strong triggers of a nymph and the hi visibility of a dry fly. The trout completes its behavioural response to a potential prey item by eating it. To a trout, charged up and in feeding mode, the fact that the fly doesn’t look exactly like the other bugs on the water is outweighed by its built-in behavioural releasers. 

Fly Fishing Flies Bob Wyatt Snow Show Hare Emerger

The SHE - Snowshoe Hare Emerger. Floats like a cork and stands out like dogs balls.

 

These days there are plenty of good surface film patterns that present strong ‘behavioural releasers’. Some like the Stimulator might have taken their names from behavioural science. Tying your own flies means you can experiment with your own trigger designs. It’s a real charge when a fly of your own design works. A willingness to go beyond convention, shift the emphasis from colour and superficial detail to silhouette, shape and posture in the surface film, and it’s a whole new ball game.  Adventurous tiers have wandered well outside the conventional box and have come up with sensational bugs that really catch fish. Some have a passing resemblance to a natural insect of some sort, but others are just kick-ass trigger flies.

My own surface film patterns are pretty simple affairs, and I like to keep them vaguely naturalistic in terms of size and shape. I regard these flies as operating within a ‘broad bandwidth’. The materials I like are mostly natural hare, deer hair and snowshoe hare foot fur. Not out of economy or conservatism but a kind of expedience mixed with laziness. With these few materials, if I get the size in the ball park, I have yet to find myself in a situation where I felt my flies weren’t up to the job. 

-Bob Wyatt (2012)

*Boxed sets of Wyatts flies are available here >

CUSTOMER FAVOURITES

GUIDES CHOICE

Epic Gift Card - Gifts For Fly Anglers
Epic Gift Card - Gifts For Fly Anglers from $100.00
Give the Gift of Choice No Delays, No Shipping. The Perfect Fly Fishing Gift On Time Every Time - Instant Delivery! Looking for the perfect gift for the Fly Angler in your life? Give them the gift of choice with a gift card. Gift cards are delivered by email from you directly from our website and contain instructions to redeem them at checkout. Gift cards are charged and redeemed on our stores base currency - $US For customers outside of the USA you can still shop and check-out in your native currency, our store does the conversion for you. Shopping for someone else (or yourself) but not sure exactly what to choose?Not sure what to get? Length, color or size?  It's very easy with an Epic Gift Card. You give - they choose! Schedule a Time to Send!You can even prescheduled  time / day / date that you would like your Gift Card delivered What is this?Gift Cards are delivered to you the purchaser by email and contain simple instructions to redeem them at checkout for products in our store. Each gift card features a unique code. Your gift card can also be printed out and gifted to the recipient, or it can be emailed to them immediately. Need Help? - drop us a line and we'll help you or your gift card recipient choose. How does it Work? Simple, you purchase the gift card you would like to give and check out just like you would for any online purchase. Our system will send you an email the recipient your gift card with your custom message. (That gift card has a unique voucher code on it) The recipient uses the voucher code to redeem against the purchase of their choice. Questions: Gift Cards work just like cash Any unspent balance can be used later Purchases can be topped up with cash, credit card or Paypal for larger purchases Customers can check their balance by visiting the unique gift card link sent via email Gift Cards have no additional processing fees. Purchase in your native currency to be redeemed at any time.Any questions or problems, just email us
Special Package
Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit $149.00 $199.00
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry Fly Tying kit features the very best Italian made tools by Stonfo and a pair of remarkable hand crafted fly tying scissors by Renomed of Poland. There are no finer fly tying tools made. We've taken the best of the best and presented them in a thoughtful waxed cotton canvas tool roll featuring genuine leather trim and straps fastened with classic brass catches. The hand stitched waterproof tool roll houses & protects these high quality tools and features two additional pouches to tuck away fly tying materials and hooks. The Renomed "Fly Tier" scissors feature a 'super cut' finely serrated blade that makes cutting deer hair and fur a breeze, and the larger scissor handles afford comfort and extraordinary durability and functionality. Tool Collection  Renomed Fly Tier Super Cut scissors (retail US$45) Stonfo Dubbing Twister Stonfo Hackle pliers Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Dubbing Brush Stonfo Bobtec1  Adjustable Bobbin With Ceramic Insert (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless steel) Stonfo Elite Whip Finisher (Stainless Steel)
Streamer wallet fly wallet Streamer wallet fly wallet
Backcountry Streamer Wallet $69.95
Back Country Streamer Wallet Carry and show off your streamers in style in our cotton canvas fly wallet Handcrafted and waterproof in waxed cotton Canvas, genuine sheepskin and hand tooled leather. Each wallet is hand cut and stitched from waxed cotton canvas and lined with lambswool. Measuring  12cm wide by 17 cm closed (4.5" x 7") Big enough to house and protect even the biggest lures and streamers. Streamer wallets have a few advantages over dropping your expensive streamers in a fly box. The open ended design and fine lambswool liner drys flies and lets them breath Flies are kept separated - No more tangled flies and hooks Easy to see and easy to grab - particularly if you have stinger hooks on your streamers They look sensational and big fish love them! Measuring 11cm wide by 17 cm long closed (4.5" x 7") Waterproof, small enough to fit in a wader pocket but capable of holding a large collection of flies
Special Package
Fly Tying Vice Travel Fly Tying Vice
Backcountry Travel Vise $59.95 $69.95
Backcountry Travel Vice Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry vice is a robust, beautifully built, no-nonsense fly tying vice. Featuring hard steel jaws, quick lock cam and all packed away in a stylin' protective felt case made from recycled plastic bottles! Holds hooks from size 2 to 22 Hard steel jaws Quick-lock cam' operation Rotary head Fully adjustable Allen key Recycled PET felt carry pouch
Special Package
Stainless steel Hip Flask Hip Flask
Good Libations Stainless Hip Flask $19.95 $24.95
The Good Libations Stainless Steel Hip Flask  Carry your favourite adult beverage in style with our Good Libations Stainless Steel Hip flask. About the size of a small fly box it's the perfect addition to your fly vest or bag. Smooth rounded corners make for quick extraction in times of celebration. Stainless steel and about as tough as they come, at a hearty 9oz ( 28 ml) there's plenty to share! Stainless Steel Silicon cap retainer Easy sippin' ergo design Bigger than most Cheers! Capacity: 9oz ( 266 ml) Dimensions: 127mm x 83mm x 29ml Material: Stainless Steel Positive Mood Adjustment
Sold out
Skeleton Pocket Knife Skeleton Pocket Knife
Skeleton Pocket Knife $69.95
Stainless Steel Skeleton Utility Knife Our paired back skeleton knife features a locking blade and belt clip. Easy to clean, and at just over 2 inches folded (55mm) and pocket knife size, it's the perfect everyday carry or the ideal addition to your fly fishing kit. Sheeps-foot Blade A sheepsfoot blade is shaped with one flat edge that meets the opposing edge at a curved tip; one edge is flat to the tip while the other edge runs parallel, curving at the sharp end to provide a curved tip. The dull flat edge is ideal for providing the user with lots of control over the blade and is favoured for whittling, trimming and cutting where a high degree of control is required.   Blade material: 3CR13 s/s Handle material: 2cr13 Blade length: 55mm Blade thickness: 2.5MM Blade finished: steel Knife length: 140mm A great quality handy utility knife

The Epic Fly Rod Chooser

Find your perfect fly rod with our 10 second quiz

TAKE THE TEST

Love It or Return It

100% total satisfaction guarantee

5 Star Support

Industry leading support and service

Easy Returns

Hassle free returns

World Wide Shipping

Shipping worldwide daily
Experience the Epic® difference.