Phillip Rowley - The Herl May

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The Herl May
Designed by Phil Rowley


Hook:        Daiichi 1710, #12-#16
Thread:     MFC 8/0, Tan or Olive
Tail:          UV2 Turkey Flats, Tan
Rib:           Fine Copper or Gold Wire
Shellback: Mottled Turkey Quill, Tan or Olive
Body:         Ostrich Herl, Olive, Tan or a Mixture of Both Colors
Wingcase: Remnants of shellback covered with Medium Pearlescent Mylar
Thorax:     Peacock Herl
Legs:         UV2 Turkey Flats, Tan

Tying Note:  Cover wingcase with Loon's UV Clear Fly Finish Thick.

There a four traits to consider when tying and designing flies; size, shape, color and behavior. Of these four, behavior is actually a two-fold ingredient consisting of the material chosen and the manner in which it is presented or retrieved. For the majority of stillwater fly patterns material choices are critical in order to suggest life. Patterns have to be translucent and inherently mobile to dupe trout on a consistent basis, especially the large wary ones. Unlike rivers stillwater trout often meanderer up to the pattern, follow and critique it with ruthless efficiency.

On clear lakes this heart stopping process happens all too frequently for most. The Herl May is another slant on the skinny life-like patterns needed to compete during Callibaetis emergences. The flowing action of the ostrich herl does a wonderful job of duplicating not only the rhythmic pulses of the feathered gills located along the abdomen but helps suggest the quivering darting swimming motion of the nymph. The fly box should feature gold or copper bead headed versions too.

Favored methods of presentation involve floating lines in conjunction with long leaders, clear or traditional intermediate lines, Midge Tip and the newer Outbound Hover lines. No matter what type of line and leader the retrieve is the same a slow hand twist retrieve with frequent pauses to simulate the swim pause swim action of the natural nymphs.


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