Thursday, August 14, 2014

May Break

Pale Olive/Grey

The May Break is definitely a version of the popular Quigley Cripple. The difference is that I have substituted some of the materials used in the original with materials to provide the triggers I have found highly successful in my fishing. The least of these triggers is a blended marabou abdomen.

The first time I ever encountered the big Green Drakes that inspired this fly was in the Sierras in California. I stumbled upon a hatch on a small creek and every trout in the creek was up and feeding with gusto. The closest match I had were some oversized Adams parachutes. I was able to take a few of the feeding trout but the big brown trout at the head of the run wouldn’t even give it a look. What I didn’t realize at the time was the trout were actually feeding on the emergers and not the duns which were alight as soon as they popped through the meniscus.
Dark Olive/Grey

That very evening I tied over a dozen big Catskill style dry imitations. I've carried them ever since, hooks starting to rust and wings being crushed.
The second time I confronted a hatch of these out-sized flies was fishing the North Fork of the Shoshone River between Yellowstone Park and Cody, Wyoming. I encountered a hatch of the drakes at a hole I frequented in mid-summer. The hungry cutthroats were staged at the head of a pool below a short run of rapids. The Drakes were emerging just as they entered the pool. The fish had formed a feeding conga line.

I pulled out the now rusty dries that had been with me for nearly 10 years and began casting. The fly drifted through the feeders time and again with only one refusal rise. Not wanting to put them down I stopped and observed.
The largest fish were stationed just behind the smaller more eager feeders which were taking the pre-emergers below the surface. The largest fish were waiting until the Drakes actually began to break the surface, the most vulnerable point for the insects. Only the straggling feeders in the back of the pod were feeding on the adults. On the clear, warm and dry day they weren’t having much luck because the adults were in flight almost instantly after emerging.
I took out my scissors and went to work on my fly. I clipped and trimmed making drifts below the feeding fish until only the wings protruded above the surface. The first successful drift came 2 casts in. One of the trout at the back of the run took with an anxious strike. I worked the pod back to front picking off a dozen fat cutthroats, including a pair that measured over the 21” mark on my rod, before the hatch ended.
Dark Olive/Light Olive
That evening I tied for hours configuring and tweaking to get a fly that would imitate the emergers and hang under the surface just right. The next 3 days I fished the afternoon and tied at night getting everything just the way I wanted. On the fourth day a known observer from the day before had the run before I got there. I tried waiting him out but another interloper showed up before I vacated the parking pull-out to fish the afternoon hopper bite downstream.
It was a year before I got to test the final version on Gray Drake hatch on the western side of Yellowstone Park. The flies worked just the way I wanted and the trout agreed.

Fish the May Break as you would any other emerger pattern in freestone rivers or tailwaters. The design of the fly makes it very suitable for all water types though it performs best in rough water.  A drag free drift is usually best but because it is intended to represent an emerging insect an occasional twitch can induce an undecided fish to take. Although it isn’t necessary, I usually apply a liberal amount of floatant to the hackle and wings of the fly to keep it floating high. The fly is designed to ride with the entire abdomen submerged so it is advisable to dampen the abdomen and tail of the fly to ensure it sinks. The large deer hair wing makes the fly very visible even in rough water.
 Light Olive/Grey

Fishing the May Break during or just after a hatch is very productive. I have also had success with this fly using it as a searching pattern up to 3 days after the last known hatch.

Available in - Dark Olive/Light Olive, Dark Olive/Gray, Light Olive/Gray, Pale Olive/Gray

Size 10 - 14

Dark Olive/Gray
Dark Olive/Light Olive
Dark Olive/Gray
Pale Olive/Gray

No comments:

Post a Comment