Online Fly Fishing Magazine

Premier Patterns: Quill Emerger

Kieron Jenkins brings you a tasty summer dry to try for the rivers, small stillwaters and reservoirs as the fish search for food in the upper layers…

Quill Emerger


HOOK: Fulling Mill Comp Short Shank Barbless 5070, size 14-16
THREAD: Light Cahill Uni Thread 8/0
BODY: Veniard Stripped Quill
HOT SPOT: Red Holographic
THORAX: Peacock Glister
WING: 3x Natural CDC feathers
HACKLE: CDC in loop

Small waters can get pretty tricky as we head into summer, green and black midge often pour off the water, especially on the balmy and sticky days of summer. These can throw anglers into fits of frustration as stillwater browns and rainbows will lock on and ignore absolutely EVERYTHING else you throw at them!

I was caught out at Garnfrwdd on midge feeders one day a few seasons ago, and vowed never to be in the situation again. I sat down and tied a number of small patterns (down to a size 18) and headed straight back to the lake the very next day – Yep, I was embarrassed again the very next night! As much as I don’t think the patterns made much of a difference, it was simply the shape of the fly, which put the fish off. The usual ‘midge’ type F fly was simply all wrong, so I concocted this Quill Emerger with a large CDC hackle around the shuttlecock post. One thing this did was give this tiny fly a much larger footprint on the surface.

At the top of the ripple in the extremely calm water the fly worked a treat fishing close to the ripple, 7x degreased copolymer tippet and a fair amount of slack in the cast gave the fish exactly what they wanted, a static fly just trapped in the surface tension. As I worked my way around the lake the fish were still feeding on midge, but in a slightly different manner. These midge were being tossed around by the ripple on the surface, causing them to struggle and look bigger on the water – I used the same set up to target these fish but simply lifted the rod tip every ten seconds or so to give the fly a bit of movement and make the CDC hackle ‘work’ in the ripple. It seemed irresistible and I tallied an impressive 18 fish that evening, certainly making up for the dour scores from the previous few nights.

Tying Tips

  1. Use a fine layer of UV Glue to coat the stripped quill – This gives it much needed strength along with slightly enhancing the colouration of the body.
  2. Use a dubbing loop to create a CDC hackle and wind it around the wing, like a parachute – This will give the fly more buoyancy and a much buggier profile when sitting on the surface.
  3. Treat the fly in Permafloat or similar to ensure the CDC repels water. This will not only give the fly a much longer lifespan, but ensures it sheds water and slime once a fish is caught. Just dab the fly with Amadou and treat with Frogs Fanny to bring it back to life.

Kieron Jenkins

Born and raised on the rivers and lakes of south Wales, Kieron Jenkins has become one of the leading competition anglers of our time. With multiple ‘Brown Bowls’ under his belt, along with a creditable fourth position at World level, fly fishing and fly tying has become his life, passion and obsession for Fulling Mill’s Digital Marketing Manager.

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