The Pursuit of Happiness - Deer Hair Emergers for the Early-Season

The Deer Hair Emerger is a classic early-season pattern (for both rivers and stillwaters) across the whole of the UK. Made popular by Bob Wyatt in his classic book 'Trout Hunting - The Pursuit of Happiness' - do grab a copy if you ever see one for sale:

In this book Bob describes fly patterns that have a ‘prey image’ - something in the design of the pattern that allows the fly to be picked out among others, rather than ignored – such as its silhouette or size.

The Classic pattern Bob is renowned for is the Wyatt's Deer Hair Emerger:

As you can see the patterns is quite 'rough and ready' - by design. The key to this style of fly is in the rough body and the deer hair used - it has to be hair from the winter coat of the animal as this is more buoyant due to the increased amount of air contained within each strand (each strand of deer hair is hollow and is a great insulator).

The key to fishing this style of pattern is how you treat the fly when dry - just apply a little floatant to the tips of the deer har. This will cock the fly to sit correctly in the water, you need the fly to sit so you can only see the tips of the deer hair on the water surface.

For more tips on fishing emerger style flies, please check out the end of this email - we've added a section on how to fish this style of fly.

We asked our guy who tie for us to come up with some classic Deer Hair Emerger style patterns. Patterns which I've used with success in the past. We've curated this Deer Hair Emerger Selection based on the flies which:

  1. We've found are the most popular on our site; and
  2. Ones which I use myself on my local river

To this end, we have created our Deer Hair Emerger Selection which contains four variations of the classic pattern - Original, Black, White & March Brown:

Our Deer Hair Emergers are now available as a selection of 16 flies (4 different patterns - see above, 2 each of sizes 14 & 16). We are supplying all of these for only £20. All are supplied in our eco-friendly packaging. Just click on any image or button in this email to view the flies in more detail.

Just a gentle reminder that all our products are shipped FREE OF CHARGE to anywhere

Early Season Conditions

Fishing in the early part of the season (March and April) can be very challenging, depending on which part of the British Isles you are located. Generally, the further South and West you are the better the fishing will be at this time of year – the North and Scotland always seem to lag a couple or three weeks behind the South of the British Isles as far as hatches and river fish activity go.

Dry Fly Leader Setup for Emergers

Firstly, when setting up your leader for fishing emergers, do not use fluorocarbon tippet, as this will sink and drag your fly under with it, use a thin supple mono (there are plenty to choose from such as Stroft & Orvis SuperStrong Plus etc). When building your leader, take note of the river size, if you are fishing a small overgrown stream, it's going to be difficult in most places to cast a 14ft leader, so try cutting back a 9' 6X leader by a few feet, and replacing what you cut off with your chosen tippet. All it means is you will need to wade very carefully in order to not spook any fish.

Early Season = Slower Water

When fishing in the early season the fish will not be really active, so target the deeper slacker water either to the side or below any riffles. As you will be fishing with an 'emerger style' fly which is not very visible you may struggle to see it (or it will sink) when in very turbulent water - in this case use the 'double dry' technique:

The Double Dry

This technique is the same setup as the duo, but instead of using a dry fly and a nymph - use two dry flies, one larger and more visible; and one small, the trailing fly should be the smaller one. How to rig:

  1. Tie the larger more visible dry fly to the end of your tippet.
  2. Tie a separate length of tippet (usually around 2ft long) to the eye of the larger dry fly.
  3. To the end of this tippet, tie in your smaller fly.

Remember: When casting a rig such as this it is better to use a slow/medium rod and a wide casting arc - a fast rod will cause the loops to be too tight and will cause you no end of tangles. A slower rod (glass is ideal for this style) will allow you to cast a heavier dry rig with a wide loop at short distances.

Tight lines.