This is Brooks’ Sprout Midge Emerger developed by Bob Brooks. It’s a remarkably adaptable pattern that can be tied in a wide variety of sizes and colors, most often in the size 18 to 24 range. This particular fly is a pretty basic trico sprout.
For a hook, an emerger-style works best, here, a Dai-Riki #125 in size 20. Begin by mashing the barb and getting the hook firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise. Midge jaws are a real luxury when it comes to tying with small hooks like this.
For thread, I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of black UTC 70 Denier but of course you can use thinner if you prefer. Start your thread on the hook shank behind the eye and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.
Antron or Zelon can be used for the trailing shuck of the fly. With this trico, I snip about an inch and a half long segment free from the spool. EZ hackle pliers work great for corralling the fibers as you’ll only be using a few at a time. Separate out and snip free 8 or so from the clump. Lay the midpoint of the fibers on top of the hook shank above your tying thread. Using a pinch wrap, secure the fibers to the top of the shank and then pull all of them rearward to double them over. Continue taking thread wraps to bind the Antron to the top of the hook shank well down into the bend. You can then reverse direction and take wraps of thread back to the initial tie-in point. Use your tying scissors to snip off the excess fibers to form a trailing shuck approximately a hook gap in length.
Although not essential, I do like to build up a slight taper on the body of the fly with wraps of tying thread. For the final trip up the shank, give your bobbin a counterclockwise spin to uncord and flatten the thread. These flattened wraps can really help to smooth and even out the body. End with your tying thread about a full eye length behind the hook eye.
Small-sized cylindrical foam is used to form the parachute post. It comes in a variety of colors to help increase the visibility of the fly over a range of light conditions. Here, I’m using white and although the packaging suggests the small size can be used down to a 20, I’ve used it on 24’s with no problem. Give your bobbin a counterclockwise spin to once again uncord and flatten the thread. Lay just the very end of the foam segment on top of the hook shank at the tie-in point. The uncorded thread should jump slightly rearward as you wrap to catch only the last little bit of foam. Continue taking thread wraps to compress and bind the foam to the hook shank really well. Pull the foam forward and take a wrap or two behind it and then leave your thread in that location. Now, give your bobbin a quick clockwise spin to cord the thread up a bit.
Place the index finger of your left hand onto the thread and bring your bobbin over top of the hook shank and take a wrap or two, this will form a 2-3 inch long loop in your tying thread. Insert the pointed hook end of your whip finish tool into the loop and start making clockwise wraps with the 2 strands of thread around the foam to compress and post it vertically. Doubling the thread over like this isn’t necessary, but I’ve found it works a good bit better than more traditional posting methods. When you’re done posting, make a full wrap with the loop around the hook shank and then secure it with wraps of tying thread. You can then snip the excess part of the loop off close. If needed, take a few thread wraps to smooth out the area.
Good quality hackle in the correct size is critical for this fly. I do like to use a hackle gauge to confirm the barbule length. Once you’ve found a feather you like, pluck it free from the hide. Strip off any lower, webby or wayward fibers and then snip the feather off leaving about 1/8” or so of bare stem. A hackle this long can be used to make multiple flies. Advance your tying thread to in front of the post and lay the bare hackle stem against the near side of the hook. Take nice tight thread wraps to secure the stem first there, and then up the post until you reach bare foam. End with your thread at the bottom rear side of the post.
Although not essential, I like to build up the thorax of the fly ever so slightly with dubbing, here, black Superfine. On a fly this small, the slightest wisp is all you need. Create an ultra slim, short dubbing noodle on your tying thread and then take wraps with it both in back and in front of the post to build up the thorax. End with your tying thread on the near side of the hook in front of the post.
Get hold of the hackle tip with hackle pliers and start making touching clockwise wraps down the post, 3-4 should be plenty. At the bottom of the post, make 2 or 3 clockwise wraps with your tying thread to secure the hackle feather to it. You can then reach in with the very tips of your tying scissors and snip the excess hackle off close.
So it doesn’t get in the way during whip finishing, I’ll snip the excess foam post off close leaving just a little nubbin exposed above the hackle wraps. You can whip finish behind the eye but I tend to trap less fibers and keep the hook eye more clear when I whip finish on the post, but do whatever works best for you. Make sure to seat the knot really well before snipping or cutting your tying thread free.
And that’s Brooks’ Sprout Midge Emerger, an awesome little pattern that’s fairly easy to execute even in the smallest of sizes.