Almost no fly fisher can deny the fascination for big mayflies. The insects of the ephemera genus are more than special. Their graceful mating dance is mesmerising. Fishing the E. Vulgata hatch in the lakes is one of the highlights of our summer.
The adult insect is between 14 – 25mm, the females being much larger than the male. The main features of this insect are the long body and the beautiful upright, sail like wings when sitting on the water. The Mohican Mayfly by Oliver Edwards is the pattern which made the extended foam body known to the public.
Be aware of the proportions; the wing is as long as the fly’s abdomen, do not make it too short. Let’s have a look at the various parts of the fly.
Wing(s) – rather obvious – imitates the insect’s wing. The wing slows down the fly in the air and helps it land correctly. It should not be too stiff though, otherwise the fly spins the leader, which can be a disaster. Twisted leaders may spook the fish and have a reduced breaking strength.
Wing materials one can use:
• Deer Hair
• Gamebirdfeathers • Antron yarn
Please take into consideration that you might need to manipulate or/and cut the wing to give the fly the right proportions. Some materials lose their appeal, others tolerate a bit of a “haircut”.
The hackle is tied “parachute” style. It works as a parachute in the air and acts like outriggers on the water. So use material which is stiff enough to keep its shape. Mostly, this is achieved by using rooster feathers from birds bred specifically for the task. However, a new world opens for you once you have mastered the art of inserting fibres into a split thread and transform that into a hackle brush.
The body, or better said extended body as it extends over the hook, can be made with bundled deer hair, furled Antron yarn, foam or poly-chenille. When using the latter three, the body is pre made in a separate process. The tail fibres play an integral role here.
They look cool, that is about it. You will find your fly catches just as well without a tail. Hair or synthetic quill strengthen the foam body core. Try to find very long fibres which do not break; bristles from brushes, natural hair – wildebeest mane, wild boar, moose or VN synthetic quills. What is important is that the fibres are long and thin.
To increase the durability of the fly, one ties these fibres together with the abdomen – foam, chenille etc.
Last, but not least – use something big enough for the job. It can hang under the fly like a keel. The original Oliver Edwards pattern is tied on a regular dry fly hook. I tried, sort of by accident, tying it on a Partridge Klinkhamer hook. This version hooks very well, on top the hook works like a keel and helps to stabilise the drift of the fly.
Foam or better – closed cell foam is very buoyant and robust. The foam in the video is matching the E. Vulgata darker dun and spinner in colour. For E. Danica you should use white foam and colour it with waterproof marker pens. The foam body is pre made. The technique involves a thin needle on which the foam is tied on. The needle used can be a straight or bent.
Hook: Dry Fly or Klinkhamer hook size 10 to 14
Thread: Dyneema 55 Body / abdomen: Closed cell foam
Tail fibres: Wildebeest mane or VN Synthetic Quills
Wing: 2 CDC feathers tied in back to back
Hackle: CDC tied as hackle brush in split thread dubbing loop
Fly Tying at Skålestrømmen
Fly tying classes are part of the inclusive packages we offer at Skålestrømmen. You can learn to make these all these flies yourself. Tying materials and tools will be supplied if cannot bring your own.
The fly shown works very well in Skålestrømmen (and around the world). There are of course many other, mostly more complicated types of flies that also work, but we like it simple and efficient.
However, do not worry. A selection of flies is included in the fly fishing packages we offer. You can also buy flies and materials in our flyshop.