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The 'Wing Bud' Emerger

By Chris Sandford

Chris sandford, law vice, peccary,  
I’m sure you’ve experienced those days when trout seem incapable of a full-blooded rise. You can see them ‘dimpling’, then every now and again lethargically sipping a little something in the surface film. They then retire to savour their find a few inches below the surface; studiously ignoring anything you might throw at them. I’ve tried flies so small that they would give an optician a headache and flies so large, that should I be observed, I’d probably be drummed off the water!
At times like these, I usually ‘take to my books’… I have enough fly tying books to start a small library, so I’m almost always guaranteed inspiration, if not an answer. A quick decision is imperative because, even if you think you’ve solved the problem, conditions could change and when you return to the water, you find the trout competing in ‘Synchronised Leaping ’ for anything that flies within two feet of the surface!
Inspiration for the Wing Bud Emerger came initially from Leeson and Schollmeyer’s excellent book ‘Tying Emergers’. These examples got me thinking about the trout’s point of view and what could act as extra ‘triggers’ when the fly is examined in the surface film.
Small side wings on emerger patterns are not a new idea. There’s an early René Harrop tying using feather slips, but I felt that CDC ‘Wonderwings’ would aid buoyancy and be more noticeable. The inspiration for the Peccary body material I borrowed from Hans Van Klinken’s ‘Once and Away’ and the other bits and pieces just appeared as I developed the fly.
The expression ‘modesty forbids’ has never featured strongly in my everyday vocabulary, so let me say without hesitation that the ‘Wing Bud Emerger’ works like a dream in almost every trout fishing location; slow moving chalk streams and still waters, with the only exception being very fast rivers. I never try and move the fly but let it move naturally with the breeze or the flow of the stream.
So when tricky trout are ‘on the sip’, give them the WMB. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
The "Wing bud emerger"

The Materials required

Hook: Any light nymph hook. Size 16
Eyes: 30lb mono heated in a lighter flame!
Thorax Cover: Hairline Dubbin Micro Thin Foam.
Wing Buds: White CDC
Thorax: Natural CDC spun in a split thread.
(All CDC from Steve Cooper at Cookshill Fly Tying. )
Body: Peccary with a coating of super glue.
Tail: Veniards Krystal Flash.
Put the hook in the vice and tie in a pair of eyes. These are made by holding a short length of 30lb mono in a pair of pliers or tweezers and heating the ends with a lighter flame.
Once secure add a drop of Super Glue and then run the thread down the shank and tie in a small bunch of Krystal Flash and a single Peccary bristle. This is the hair from a South American pig and makes wonderful nymph bodies. I got mine from those very nice chaps at Glasgow Angling. Be sure to soak the bristles in water before working with them as they are inclined to be brittle
Wind the Peccary forward leaving enough room for the thorax and ‘paint it’ with a thin coating of Super Glue. Now take a small strip of Micro Thin foam for the thorax cover, cut a shallow point at one end and tie in.
Now the slightly tricky bit! The Wonderwing buds. Take a small white CDC feather and place it at a 45-degree angle against the rear of the thorax and take one turn of thread over it letting the weight of the bobbin hold it lightly in place. Pull the feather through until you have got a thin wing bud that is very slightly too long. Now gently pull the feather back in the opposite direction and it will flare and form the correct shape. Secure with two more turns of thread and repeat the process on the other side of the hook.
Once you are happy with both wing buds carefully snip off the thick feather stems at the top of both feathers and the waste ends below the thread wraps.
I find the most efficient way to dub the natural CDC is to fold the feathers. There is a device on the market that make this very easy. Marc Petitjean’s Magic Tool, ( which has folding blocks that will accommodate difference size feathers. Fold the feather in the block and grip the folded feather in the magic clip and cut out the CDC spine then slip the fibres into a split thread or dubbing loop and spin it.
Carefully colour the foam back with a dark brown marker pen.
Here’s the fly in the surface film. I like the way the dense CDC dubbing spreads in the water giving the impression of ‘buggy’ legs. Of course, after the fly has been cast several times it will take on a little moisture and sit further down in the film. I’ve caught with this emerger on and under the surface.
The tying is a little complex but not too difficult once you’ve tied your first 2000 Wonderwing buds. Only kidding! It’s really easy if you take your time.
This is an extract from an article that originally appeared in Fly Fishing and Fly tying magazine