This week's Fly Friday comes from PRO-Team member Paul Procter, it's The All Purpose Emerger....

I’ve never been one for ornate, fussy patterns, as to me painstaking hours spent constructing them could have been valuable time invested into prowling the river banks.  Instead, general “near enough” dry flies are what turn me on.  Aside from being quick and easy to tie, they’re often representative of various insects that emerge at the surface.  For all their bells and whistles, specific close copy imitation on the other hand tend to be more one dimensional that belong in a frame hung over the fireplace rather than on the end of our leader! 

Taking the shuttlecock style of tying popularized by our European friends, I’ve deviated from the original by making one or two subtle alterations.  Although named the APE (All Purpose Emerger), this nondescript creation will appeal to fish feeding not only on emergers, but stillborn and spent flies too.  What’s more, it’s a ringer when grannom and other caddis return to egg lay that usually end up littering the surface after their prenuptial ecapades.

The grey abdomen might seem a little drab and unimaginative, however, it’s well suited to various upwings and caddis for that matter, meaning we only need carry one shade of fly in various sizes.  A contrasting rib of brown poly-floss gives a definite segmentation appearance, so obvious on many bugs we care to imitate.  To me though the magic lies in the splayed CdC that provides an overall, bedraggled and distressed look to the finished article.

This winging arrangement is best achieved by securing a couple of CdC feathers with tips pointing forward. Once you’re happy with the wing/tuft length, separated a few fibres out and fold them back, down either side of the hook shank.  Any bare thread turns are then hidden beneath a ball of grey squirrel dubbing, which doubles as tangled legs.

Although it seems fashionable to dress shuttlecock patterns on straight shank hooks this particular fly sits well on the subtle curves of the K14A caddis emerger.  Remember too that due to a more vertical wing and influence (pull) from your leader the hook rests in a more horizontal attitude, so taking the abdomen round the bend ever so slightly suggest a lifeless fly just hanging there, ready to be wolfed down by a fish.  What’s more, where large wild trout are concerned the K14A has more than earned its stripe in terms of strength.      


Photo 1: “It doesn’t look much, but the APE has accounted for some impressive trout when olives and caddis are on the menu”


Photo 2: “Sipping spent grannom on a bright and breezy afternoon this tremendous brownie couldn’t resist the APE”


Photo 3: “The new K14A’s gently sloping bend is well suited to emerger type patterns”

Paul Procter

A resident of the Lake District, AAPGAI Master and Wild Trout Trust Vice-President Paul Procter is a dedicated fly fisher. With 30 years experience on rivers, lakes and tropical saltwater fly fishing, Paul is a leading contributor to the UK’s premier publications-Trout and Salmon and its sister magazine-Trout Fisherman.

A talented and innovative fly tyer, Paul’s flies have become recognised as a signature for his many articles. Having spent the last decade travelling extensively throughout Europe, the Americas and Southern Hemisphere, he has gained a wealth of knowledge on many of the celebrated rivers and streams with an intimate understanding of fly hatches and their imitations required to tempt fish. In turn this has allowed him to develop specialist patterns with the opportunity to field test hook models on a range of fish species and ultimately provide valuable feedback. However, having fished the far corners of the globe, his abiding love remains the light line approach on intimate Northern streams, fishing North Country spiders (soft hackled flies) and dry flies. Here the rivers offer such diversity that Paul has honed all fishing disciplines on systems like the Eden, Wharf and Ure.

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