Pheasant Tail Parachute
Quality hand tied parachute flies tied on hayabusa hooks.
Size 14 or 16
A parachute fly is a fly with the hackle affixed horizontally across the top of the hook near the eye. The fly is balanced by the weight of the hook. The design makes it look like a parachute. A Scottish tackle shop commercially marketed this style of the dry fly first. Most of the common dry fly patterns are now tied in the parachute style.
Traditional vs Parachute
The traditional way of dressing dry flies is upright wings and hackles that make the fly stand high on the water’s surface. It may seem to be most appropriate, but it is not necessarily the best design for catching fish. The parachute dry fly style allows the fly to sit low on the surface film. This mimics either a spent spinner, an emerging mayfly dun filling its wings, a stillborn, a floating nymph or a drowning fly trapped in the surface film. They all can be extremely more effective at getting takes.
Some traditionalists refrain from using parachute flies. But others find them very productive and easy to cast correctly. The way a traditional tied fly sits on the water concerns us. Parachute patterns always seem to land and sit balanced on the water after each cast. Excellent for still water fishing. But they become waterlogged once a ripple or two breaks over them. The delicate presentation and softer landing is one of this pattern’s principal merits. The parachute effect of the hackle lets the fly gently descend to the water. They will not spook the fish as often as a normal dry fly would.
At some point, the mayflies stop emerging and the surface action quiets down. However, the fishing does not have to be over if you know where to look. Take a walk along the riverbank and look for bankside eddies or areas of slow slack pockets near the seam of faster-moving water.
When mayflies do not successfully emerge during the hatch they are referred to as cripples or stillborn. Some mayflies flip over, capsizing in the choppy water. They will collect in these eddies. Large trout hang near these pockets. They rise to these cripples long after the original hatch has finished. Flip a parachute into these pockets and let it drift in the eddy. The explosive take of a beastie trout as it emerges from the seam and slurps down your Iron Blue Parachute pattern is a pleasant surprise.