“On My Vise”- The Pompadour Wiggle Emerger

Yesterday was the Dette Trout Flies Partridge Days Show at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum.

It’s always a fun show as many of them are, and you get to see “the usual suspects” behind the vise! 😂 Which is awesome because it translates into laughing, Sharing patterns and tying tricks; and talking to many new people coming in the door.

But Every time I tie at show I tie something different, and I do it for a few different reasons. Boredom? filling up my own boxes? Inability to sit still? Tying for a Project healing waters trip? Trying something new that I can see in my head but haven’t put to a hook yet..?

So the night before my drive up as I packed I thought to myself.. “What should I tie? Maybe I should tie some of my articulated nymphs that have been producing so well?”

Sounds good I decided.

But Before I walked out the door I had a better idea, and grabbed a pack of CDC oily puffs.

And the entire drive up all I could think about was I couldn’t wait to get there and turn those wiggle nymphs into emergers!

pompadour wiggle emerger

As we know, CDC is a great material for keeping flies afloat. I also like to use the Marc Petitjean CDC Oil on my CDC flies when I fish them (dont use traditional dry fly floatant on CDC!)

An oily puff is different than a standard CDC feather and when Tied in backwards, leaving the feather stem intact it looks somewhat like an Elvis pompadour!

An added stripe for an Iso that just cant escape
Close up of the tail

Tied in this manner the CDC oily puff will also hold an air bubble inside of it which helps with buoyancy.

looks like a little floating pearl onion! 😂

An emerging insect makes quite a scene when trying to break free of its shuck.

To make a long story short and skip all the technical talk:

It swims as fast as it can towards the surface and as it drifts back down it will once again fight on its way back up. While fishing you will see them floating past you in an erratic up and down motion. This is also why soft hackles are such great fish catchers during a hatch!

Once reaching the surface of the water it splits open its back and climbs out..all while floating in the surface film. Its upon that escape that they transform from nymph to adult. But its a race against time! This is a very vulnerable time as The shuck is left sub surface, while the internal insect wiggles free and crawls out so that it can escape the prying eyes of a hungry trout.

And All that ruckus seen from below will usually trigger a trout to take a closer look.

fly from below

Other emerging insects such as an isonychia tend to crawl out on to the rocks to transform, but even so.. they still have to get there! So this pattern with a white stripe is another option.

Many emergers I have fished work fine with out the extra movement from a wiggle shank tail. But every so often when they do stop working.. this may be just what triggers that missing strike.

underwater shot

Other mayflies dont emerge at all. They get to the surface film and thats as far as they go.

“Im shot. no sense in carrying on.”

“Too tired.”

and While floating along in the current at the top of the water, a trout nabs them.


underwater shot

Either way, they’re lunch! Or dinner depending on what time you’re fishing. I look forward to experimenting and fishing with these more and hope this post inspires you to tie something a little different!

A step by step  for this pattern can be found here!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Arne March says:

    Grwat stuff


  2. Vicky Howard says:

    Love your fly floating pic! Now I don’t feel so silly when I tell people they only time I fill my bath tub up, is to drag flies through the water to see how they sit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahah!! I’ve done that was streamers don’t feel weird it’s the best way to see how they work!


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