Trout tend to focus on the upper two inches of the water column during mayfly hatches because food becomes concentrated in this narrow band. Sometimes they target pre-emergent nymphs just beneath the surface, and on other occasions the true emerger, part nymph and part adult, drifting in the surface film, get all of the attention.

The Jelly Merger is a Klinkhamer-style parachute pattern that works best during hatches when trout are onto partially emerged adults. Because emerging mayflies and midges consist of part shuck (separating nymphal skin) and part adult, they are larger than either the nymph or the adult. Most emerger patterns include a trailing shuck of feather or some translucent material such as Antron or Zedlon yarn. By utilizing the unique properties of Stretch Cord to build the translucent shuck onto the shank it, is possible to use a hook one size larger, which has three distinct advantages: it is easier to tie, more visible on the water and has better holding power.

Useful abdomen colours for mayflies include black and clear Stretch Cord over black thread for grey/black nymphs, brown and light green over olive thread for brown/olive naturals and two strands of brown cord over a bare shank for darker brown varieties. 

Stretch Cord with a diameter of 0.5mm may produce a nymphal shuck on size 14 hooks that is too anorexic for your purposes. Either beef up the size 14 shuck by creating a slightly tapered thread base on the shank before wrapping the abdomen, or use 0.6-0.7mm cord. The #14 brown Jelly Merger demonstrated in the tying sequence was tied with 0.6mm stretch cord. 

Although the Jelly Merger was designed with mayflies in mind, it makes a fairly good emerging midge. If you plan to use it for this purpose keep the abdomen slim and vary the body colours according to the naturals in your area. To imitate surface hatching caddisflies build a fatter abdomen (of appropriate colour) by tying the Stretch Cord in along the top of the shank, as described for the Jelly Pupa.


Hook: Kamasan B110 or other light wire grub hook with uneven curve - sizes 14-16.
Thread: UTC 70, colour to match natural 
Abdomen: Two strands 0.5-0.6mm Stretch Cord, colour to match natural nymph. 
Wing Post: Polypropylene Yarn, light grey or white.
Nymph Thorax: Arizona Synthetic Peacock Dubbing, colour to match thorax of nymphal shuck.
Adult thorax: Superfine dubbing, colour to match emerging adult.
Hackle: 5-6 turns dry fly hackle, colour to match legs of adult.


Step 1

Attach the thread to the bend of the hook, using as much torque as is possible without breaking the thread. Spin the thread anti-clockwise to reduce the diameter and tie in two strands of Stretch Cord, with the darker colour closest to you, using the method described in Step 2 of the Jelly Mayfly Emerger tying sequence.



Step 2

Now advance the thread to the position on the shank where the nymph thorax will begin. Cover the shank with a thin thread layer if you are using clear or light green stretch cord, but expose as much of the shank as possible using open thread turns if you are using two strands of brown cord (as in the case here).



Step 3

Next stretch the strands of cord and wrap them together, forward and around the shank. Pressing your left hand index finger firmly against the far side of the tie-in prevents it from spinning around the hook on the first wrap. Reduce the tension progressively with consecutive wraps to create a slight taper (practice this a few times until you get the hang of it). Tie the Stretch Cord off at the position of the nymph thorax (usually where the curve of the shank is sharpest). Now trim each tag end at the tie-in at an oblique angle in towards the hook. This creates a tapered butt that glows under water, as you would expect the tip of a sloughing shuck to do.



Step 4

Twist a thin noodle of dubbing onto the thread and dub the nymph thorax.



Step 5

Advance the thread to the position on the shank where the wing post will be attached (approximately 2mm behind the hook eye). Take a one and a half inch length of poly yarn and bind it atop the hook shank with three tight thread turns. Now draw the yarn upward with the fingers of the left hand and take three tight turns immediately in front and three turns immediately behind the tie-in. Finally complete the post by taking several tight horizontal thread turns around the base, working your way upward about 2mm and then back down to the hook shank.



Step 6

Positioning the thread behind the wing post, dub the portion of the adult thorax between the nymph thorax and the wing post (on size 16 hooks this may not be necessary as the wingpost is often tight up against the nymph thorax). Advance the thread to a position between the wing post and hook eye and tie in the prepared hackle, with the glossy or front surface facing upward. Now finish dubbing the adult thorax, allowing enough space behind the hook eye to tie off.



Step 7

Spiral the bare hackle stem up the post and then take five or six turns of hackle down the post; each consecutive turn should be below the previous one. Now tie off, trimming away the excess hackle. Next trim the wing post to the desired length and colour the tie-in with a brown permanent marker (only necessary if you are using a contrasting thread colour). Finally varnish both the tie-off and the tie-in.



Step 8

Although this black and clear Jelly Merger was designed to imitate emerging New Zealand mayflies (Deleatidium species), it also makes a fairly convincing midge emerger.



Step 9

The olive version is tied by wrapping brown and light green stretch cord over olive thread.