It is supposed to be the time when even the newest novice to fly fishing can catch fish hence the name "duffers fortnight". Naturally imitation mayflies are normally used to great success during this period but there have been times when the trout appear to ignore my traditional mayfly imitation. Closer observation of the feeding fish has shown that at times they are concentrating on the nymph emerging on the surface into a mayfly. This is where the mayfly emerger has proved to be a real killer.

I fished the so called "duffers fortnight" a few years ago on an exclusive Southern chalk stream and noticed, reading the record book in the fishery lodge, that catches were well down on what was expected at that time. I walked the venue and could see plenty of trout so there was no shortage of fish. I then set up with an 8ft rod with a DT3F line to start fishing. As I walked up the beat, a hatch of mayflies conveniently started. The brown trout were quickly on to them, taking most of them before they emerged as the full mayfly. Bearing in mind what I had seen in the record book, I decided to try the Coley mayfly emerger. I also decided to be clever and only cast to the bigger brown trout, as I thought that this was the best time to catch the normally ultra-cautious big browns. I was right, my first cast produced the best brown of the session of 41b 12oz and was quickly followed by three other good sized browns. It was easy fishing but back at the lodge I heard that other anglers using traditional dry mayfly patterns were struggling. Naturally I shared my experiences with others. One angler, who had up until that time blanked, borrowed an emerger from me and took two browns in under ten minutes by the lodge.

Mayfly hatches are not confined to rivers, some lakes also have spectacular mayfly hatches. At times these venues can produce terrific catches on dry mayflies but again it would be foolish to forget the mayfly emerger. I have had some great success with the emerger on still water venues as well as rivers

Tying the mayfly emerger (Coley varient)

Materials: Hook-size 10 scorpion long shank

Body - 75% white 25% yellow mixture of seals fur substitute (Veniards natural hair substitute).

Ribbing-thick dark brown thread.

Tail-four pheasant tail fibres.

Wing-two C.D.C. feathers (natural)

Tying thread - unwaxed professional (brown).

Tying instructions

Step 1: Start tying thread 1mm from the hook eye and wrap in close turns to the bend of the hook.

Step 2: Now catch in pheasant tail fibres and also tie in ribbing.

Step 3: Dub on seals fur mix and wind back to stop 4mm from hook eye.

Step 4: Take ribbing in even open turns and tie off 4mm from hook eye.

Step 5: Tie in C.D.C. feathers flat.

Step 6: Dub on more seals fur mix and form a thorax in front of the wing and tie off.

Finished flies and materials can be obtained from