One of my favourite times to fish is late afternoon, when there are sometimes hatches and fish are sipping off the surface.  Tricky conditions and sometimes frustrating because the fish are refusing whatever fly you cast to them.
A very successful fly for these conditions is the Shuttlecock, a small fly imitating a mayfly emerger or hatching. The problem is keeping it dry after a few casts. Being tied mostly with CDC it can become wet and the fly will just keep on sinking.  The Unsinkable Emerger will resolve this problem by about 90%, with the polystyrene ball added.  Like any dry fly, fish will destroy it after a while, so, it is not perfect but will get you more fish than usual.

Below is my step-by-step instruction how to prepare the polystyrene balls and tie the Unsinkable Emerger. Enjoy!!


Material list for the Polystyrene ball:

-        Small (+/- 5mm) Polystyrene balls – available from hobby shops etc.

-        10lb or 0.2mm Monofilament line.

-        Tools:

  • A thin needle that matches the thickness of your Monofilament line.
  • Scissors
  • Grip long nose pliers
  • Thin or Flow UV Resin
  • A Lighter


Take a polystyrene ball and push needle through the center of the ball making a small channel for the monofilament line.


Cut a piece of the monofilament line and burn the end with a lighter creating a small stopper. Use the “blue” flame as this will not turn the burned part black.


Push the monofilament through the hole in the polystyrene ball and place it in your vice to add and secure it with a small drop of UV Resin.


Grab your Grip long nose pliers and place the monofilament in the length of the pliers, so that you can create ribbing on the line to secure it on the hook with thread.


Material list for Unsinkable Emerger:

-        Ready made polystyrene balls with monofilament line.

-        #12-16 Scud hooks (Use a#14 Fulling Mill (FM 35065 scud hook) – use the thin wire hooks.

-        70 or 6/0 Thread – Tan for the body and black for the ribbing. (Used UTC 70).

-        Natural CDC.

-        Natural Squirrel dubbing.

-        Optional - Natural Kapok dubbing.


Add the hook to your vice and start about one hook eye size away from the eye of the hook, dressing the hook shank about ¾ with the Tan thread.  Tie in a short piece of black thread to form a rib on the body of the fly later on.


Place the prepared polystyrene balls (as per photo above) on the top of the hook shank.  Use a pinch wrap to secure the monofilament on to the hook with the polystyrene ball facing forward.


Further secure the polystyrene ball by covering the entire monofilament with thread wraps.


Build up a body, not too thick (about 2-3 layers) and use the black thread to create an even rib.


Prepare some dubbing by mixing a 1:1 ratio of Natural Squirrel dubbing and Natural Kapok dubbing. The Kapok dubbing is optional.


Start behind the polystyrene ball, prepare your thread for the dubbing by splitting it and adding a small amount of Natural Squirrel dubbing (or the mixed with Natural Kapok dubbing).  Spin the thread and create a small dubbing brush.



Tie the dubbing brush underneath the polystyrene ball (as per photo above) - two turns are more than enough.


Prepare three Natural CDC feathers by placing them on top of each other.  Use your favourite CDC clip to clamp only one side of the CDC feathers (as per photo above). Cut the clamped CDC about 1-2mm away from the clip.


Once again, split the thread and carefully place the CDC feather between the split thread and spin to create a CDC brush.


Tie the brush underneath the polystyrene ball and then whip finish.  You can whip finish either underneath the CDC or behind the eye of the hook.


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