Fly of the Month... Mercer's Micro Mayfly

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KD: Here's another hot tip from Fly Talk's tying guru, Brian Schmidt of Umpqua Feather Merchants:

When trying to match the hatches of small mayflies such as Baetis and PMD’s, a couple things can get in the way of being successful: 1. These insects have very thin abdomens which many flies fail to represent well. 2. You need enough weight on the fly to get in the face of the feeding trout.

Many of the naturals have abdomens that are in fact thinner than the wire the typical nymph hooks are made of; this, right out of the gate, is an issue that can be tough to overcome. Mike Mercer was able to figure out a solution that left people asking, “why didn’t I think of that?” His use of a short shank, thin wire “dry fly” hook was the key to what is now an extremely effective fly on all types of waters. Using the Tiemco 921 as the base for his fly; he started to design around the thin wire a sleek abdomen made of one of the thinnest natural materials available. Peacock herl is no stranger to nymphs, and has been a staple on many of the more famous imitations available. If you take off all of the fuzz on peacock herl, you are left with a durable stem that is light brown and flat. This lends itself perfectly for keeping a thin abdomen on an already tiny fly. As for using enough weight to get in the face of the feeding trout... you can’t use lead wire and keep the fly thin. Many drainages don’t allow for lead to be used either, so a bead head was the answer…to some extent. On such a small fly the standard brass beads just wouldn’t cut it unless you were to use an oversized bead. Which in fact works perfectly with the Tiemco 921 given it’s large gape. So there you have it, the two largest issues solved. All Mercer had to do now was finish the fly in such a way that trout wouldn’t think twice about eating it.

Because the fly has an over sized bead and as thin an abdomen as they come, the thorax had to “fit” in there somewhere. Mercer used a dubbed thorax with an epoxy coat to give it the appearance of the gasses that build up at the wing case of emergent insects. This distended appearance of the thorax, slightly larger then the abdomen was pretty much the icing on the cake.

Mike Mercer has been a long time friend of Umpqua Feather Merchants, so when we saw his Micro Mayfly we know it was another winner. Over time the fly has gained popularity from coast to coast and is now available in many colors to match all the local hatches and in the sizes and weights to help anglers get the upper hand on even the most finicky of trout. Twist up a few for yourself, recipe below.

Hook: Tiemco 921
Thread: 8/0 color to match the fly
Tail: Three Pheasant Tail fibers
Rib: Fine silver wire
Abdomen: Stripped Peacock Herl (use a pencil eraser to remove the “fuzz”)
Wing Case: Pearl Flashabou over Dark Turkey Tail fibers. Coated with 5 min epoxy
Thorax: Buggy Nymph Dubbing color to match the fly
Legs: Pheasant tail
Collar: Buggy Nymph Dubbing, same as thorax
Bead Small: Copper Bead, Tungsten or Glass bead depending on where you plan on fishing

-Brian Schmidt