A few weeks ago I tied up a parachute dun pattern for the inevitable Hendrickson hatch this Spring. To keep with consistency, I figured on tying up a Hendrickson Mayfly in a very effective “Klinkhammer” emerger pattern. For beginners, the most difficult part of the fly would be to build a strong post but other than that, it’s a very easy fly to tie and fish.
To begin, I start my thread just behind the eye and make wraps with my thread to where I want to center my post. Getting the correct placement of the post is essential as it can “make or break” the rest of the fly. Each Klinkhammer hook has different dimensions. I wrap back approximately two hook-eye lengths from the rear of the hook eye and trim the tag end of the thread off.
Next, I take about an inch-long length of parachute post and make one snug wrap, directly in the middle of the parachute material. Make sure the material is directly on top of the hook shank. Draw the material up and make five or six snug wraps where the material meets the shank of the hook. You can continue to make snug wraps gradually working up the post. As the post build vertically, I begin to lessen the tension on the post as too much pressure will result in the post rotating around the hook shank and the thread will unravel. Don’t ask me how I know this.
The parachute needs to be taller on a Klinkhammer to allow for three or four turns of hackle. To make all of my flies consistent, I build the post up to a height that is about one-half the length of the flat part of the hook shank before ending with my thread at the base of the post.
Gently grabbing and twisting the post upward will give you a good opportunity to trim off the excess material. Again, consistency is key so I want to leave about the same height of the post material as the height of the post. In other words, from the top of the parachute to the base of the post is the same length as the flat part of the hook shank.
Select a saddle hackle that is slightly oversized for the size of the fly. Here, I tied the fly in size 14 so a size 12 hackle is used. This aids in flotation as half of the fly should ride in or below the surface film. Once the hackle is selected, strip off about 1/4″ of the fibers. I’ll tie the hackle in around the post and make wraps to the top and then back to the base.
The tailing fibers should be of the same color as the hackle so select a hackle feather that is broad and whose fibers are long enough for the tail. Once I have stripped about 1/4″ of the fibers from the stem, I’ll measure them in my fingers. Between my index finger and thumb, I’ll pinch the amount of fibers I want hanging down from the body of the fly and my fingers can rest at the tail end while I tie in the rest. That way, I can tie in the butts of the fibers anywhere along the shank, regardless of length. I’ll tie in at the top and work my way down. I’ll end with my thread parallel to the point of the hook leaving enough of a gap of the hook to get some purchase in the fish’s mouth. If the butts of the fibers extend past the parachute post, trim them off, there.
Dub a thin noodle on your thread and make tight wraps up the shank to the post. Then, make cross-wraps around the post and up to the eye of the hook. Everyone’s body is going differ but I like a slim, tapered tail and a beefier thorax.
End with the thread wrapped behind the post and hanging on the near-side of the fly. Ending with the thread closest to you is important for capturing the hackle.
Being making snug wraps with the hackle at the top of the parachute post and working downward. Once you have the hackle in front of you, pull down and capture it with your thread being careful to not trap fibers. Then, trim off the hackle as close to the fly as possible being careful not to snip your thread.
With some practice, this next step won’t be as difficult as it seams. Whip finish at the base of the post two or thread times and then give the thread a snug pull which will seat the knot.
To finish the fly, trim the thread and the fly is complete!
This is my preferred method of tying all parachute flies as it doesn’t involve trapping hackle fibers around the post or hooks hank. The gap of thread between the hackle and body also lets the fly rid lower in the film and can act as a hot spot, too.
Give this version a try with any mayfly pattern and you’ll be happy you did.
Thread: Veevus 8/0 – Pink
Hook: Daiichi 1167 (Klinkhammer) – Size 14
Parachute: Light Grey Para-Post
Dubbing: Superfine – Tan
Hackle: Dark Dun
Tail: Dark Dun