PARA7. The Light Cahill Parachute Dry Fly
PARACHUTE EMERGER DRY FLIES. Hook size 12 14 16 18 20 24 - $US each
LIGHT CAHILL PATTERN
From the middle of May to September, depending on where you live, hatches of different varieties of light colored mayflies now commonly known as Light Cahills can be found. This is a recent collective common name that covers many groups of the Heptageniidae family of mayfly insects. In the 1880's a New York railroad worker called Daniel Cahill developed a fly that became famous all over America, the Light Cahill. It is a great general imitation of summer mayfly duns. Just choose the hook size and color to match your local hatch. In smaller sizes the Light Cahill is a useful fly to imitate hatches of Pale Morning Duns, pale watery Duns, Spurwings, Pale Evening Duns and the Red Quill Mayfly. The Pale Morning Dun (PMD) hatch is normally in the summer and massive in numbers, triggering aggressive trout feeding. The hatch normally happens in slow, clear water. The PMD is normally best matched with a size 18 hook fly. The Red Quill mayfly is not as widespread as other mayflies but if they live in the river you are fishing, you will find that this fly is an important insect to have imitations of. The reason being is that they occur in large numbers when they hatch and these are the flies that the trout want. Hatches are normally in the afternoon.
The Light Cahill is a good imitation for the Pale Watery (Baetis fuscatus) likes streams and rivers. The spinner is seldom seen in large swarms and often falls to the water earlier in the evening than others. But if the trout are being picky about what they take they often prefer a Pale Watery rather than other spinners. This fly can be used to represent mayfly duns and spinners. Treat with floatant and fish on the surface. Leave the fly to drift with the current. Every now and then tug it over a short distance to mimic take-off or give it a twitch to represent the fly being caught in the surface film just before death.
PARACHUTE DRY FLIES
The term parachute fly is given to flies in which the hackle is tied round a projection affixed to the top of the hook shank near the eye so that the hackle lies horizontally across the hook which it covers in the manner of an open umbrella. The weight of the hook underneath the circular hackle balances the fly which falls lightly on the water parachute fashion. Various patterns are tied in the parachute style and a Scottish tackle firm was the first to commercially market these flies a long time ago. It is not certain who invented them but an American called William Brush of Detroit applied for an American patent for the idea in 1931 and it was granted in 1934. The patent related to the projection on the hook and not the fly itself.
The traditional way of dressing dry flies with upright wings and hackles that make the fly stand high on the water's surface may be very pleasing but it is not necessarily the best design for catching fish in some anglers opinions. The parachute dry fly style of dressing allows the fly to sit well down in or on the surface film, mimicking either an emerging mayfly dun filling its wings, a spent spinner, stillborn, floating nymph or a crippled drowning fly trapped in the surface film. They can be dramatically more effective at getting takes. Some traditionalist will not use them but I find them very effective and easy to cast correctly. I have found them more suited to still water fishing as once a ripple or two has broken over them they become waterlogged. The softer landing, the delicate presentation is one of this patterns principle benefits. The parachute effect of the hackle slows down the descent. It does not spook the fish as much as a normal dry fly. They are one of my favorite lake flies. When the trout are rising and taking food with a gentle sipping action these are the flies to use.
When the mayflies have stopped emerging and the surface action has died down. The fishing is not over if you know where to look. Go for a walk down the riverbank and look for bankside eddies, areas of slow slack pockets of water near faster moving water. A lot of mayflies do not successfully emerge during the hatch. They are referred to as cripples or stillborn. Others are flipped over, capsized in choppy water. They seem to collect in these eddies. You will find trout rising to them long after the original hatch has finished. Cast a Parachute into these pockets and let it drift. It is a great way to extend your surface fishing time.
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