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The Reversed Emerging Mayfly ("R.E.M.")
 
This fly came about following conversations with Roy Christie and later Chris Sandford.
Roy, as most people will know, is an advocate of flies tied backwards or “reversed “.
Chris on the other hand ties beautiful little flies in minute detail and he is great at finding and developing techniques to fit the current needs. In 2007, I spent some time with Chris looking at his entries for the Rother Valley Fly Dressers Guild competition. He tied a series of olives and one in particular - the emerger - took my fancy or rather its wings did.Wing bud emerger
The wings were made of CDC plumes tied in backwards and then trimmed to give a wing shape with loads of built-in flotation. In addition the method is quick and easy to learn and tie, and uses up CDC plumes that otherwise may be left at the bottom of the bag.
The final part of the jigsaw came when I tied some flies for Partridge to demonstrate the latest hook ranges. The size 16 Czech nymph was the one that interested me most. It’s a fine wire hook with a slightly offset point and a great shape.

Chris then asked me to contribute three flies to his book:- Flytyers' Flies - Flies that Catch Fish and this one was an obvious choice given his influence.

So what is the R.E.M.? Well, I suppose it might be a mayfly imitation but the intent is to produce a fly that sits largely above the water with only the tails and head in the film. Tied reverse style, the hook point and bend are underwater while the tail holds the eye of the hook just below the surface film. From beneath this gives a much diminished footprint but also a good silhouette of a fly struggling from its shuck. By changing the hook size and shape, it should be possible to produce imitations of most species that emerge from shucks in water.

Dressing  
 
Hook Partridge Czech nymph hook, size 14 or 16
Silk 6/0 black or green
Tails About 8 deer hair fibres tied splayed on top of the shank
Body Seals fur or similar dubbing material
Rib Fine gold holographic
Wings 2 CDC plumes tied in backwards and the stalks clipped
Thorax As body
Thorax Hackle Long CDC plume
 
Step by step instructions
 
1)  Tie in 8 body hairs from a well-marked deer on to a hook that has been wrapped with touching turns of silk,
These should be tied on top of the shank and you should use tight turns to cause them to splay out.
The butts can be tied in down to the middle of the shank to provide more buoyancy The exact type of deer hair is immaterial provided it is sufficiently hollow to allow the splaying when compressed by a tight turn of silk.

2) Dub a body of seal or similar synthetic material to match the natural insect. The dubbing should reach to just over halfway down the hook shank.
I use a pale green to imitate E.Vulgata and a tan or cream fur for E.Danica.
Wrap this body with a rib of fine gold holographic tinsel

3) Select two matching CDC plumes - look for feathers with long fibres all along the stalk. Tie in the first CDC plume with the tip facing forwards and downwards. At most, use two light turns of thread. Using tweezers or fingers pull the feather backwards through the thread wraps until it sits at 45 degrees to the body. Do not trim the feather yet.
Once you are happy with the positioning, tie in the second CDC plume and repeat the pulling into position. Ensure your wings are level and even. Now you can tie off the plumes with a few turns of thread, cut away the excess and finally remove the butt end of the stalk.

Be careful at this stage as you must not cut through the herl where it joins the stem. A correct cut does not displace any fibres from the stem and leaves the stubby end of the hackle stalk just showing. Always carry out the trimming at this stage. If you’re cutting and trimming has been successful you can continue to the next stage, if not, discard the CDC and start again. Once trimmed and in place, the wings can be forgotten as we move on to the thorax.

4) Tie in a long CDC feather by the tip. Look for as thin a stem as possible.

5) Dub a thorax of the same material as used for the body but tied in much less tightly.

6) Wrap the CDC feather around the thorax. Take care to ensure the stem is flat to the shank and the herls are also flat and not lying at 90 degrees as you would normally do for a hackle. This is because the CDC stalk will sink into the loose dubbing if tied correctly and the fibres from both sides of the stem will then be forced to the vertical position. This is easier than trying to hold back fibres and wrap the CDC in soft hackle style.

7) Whip finish below the hackle. I usually build a small head of tying silk to improve the impression of a living insect.
 
Fishing notes
This fly is an out and out searching dry fly. It can be fished at any stage of the hatch but is most successful when there are or have been lots of emergers on the water. Make sure you get a drag free drift and the fly will float in exactly the same way as the real insect that is facing downstream. This together with the exaggerated trigger points are the key to its success.