Sparkle quill caddis pupa [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Sparkle quill caddis pupa

Dble Haul
02-07-2003, 08:33 PM
Hook: Scud or pupa hook, sizes 10-18 (here, a size 10)
Thread: Green, 6/0
Abdomen veil: Light olive Z-Lon
Abdomen: Layer of green Z-Lon overwrapped with green turkey biot (here, overwrapped with green dubbing)
Legs: Brown partiridge feathers, tied in beard style
Wing: Sparse light dun Z-Lon
Antennae: Mallard splayed over top
Head: Dark brown dubbing

This is a pattern that is often attributed to Gary Lafontaine, but the originator is actually Mike Mercer. Gary developed the deep sparkle caddis pupa, along with many others.

The image shows two flies....the one on the left has a veil that's tied down rather snug to the abdomen, and the one on the right has the veil tied down a bit more loosely, allowing for more movement and potential trapping of air bubbles upon entry into the water.

02-08-2003, 12:32 AM
Very nice Mark... I have been flippimh thoigh two new books I got ay the last show, both by I will give these a shot at some point.

02-11-2003, 11:19 AM
When did mike mercer do it?

Dble Haul
02-11-2003, 04:38 PM
I'm sorry Mike, but there is no clear timeframe given in Kauffman's book for when Mercer developed the pattern. Kauffman seems to have a pretty high opinion of the fly, though, and gives direct credit for it to Mercer.

02-11-2003, 04:52 PM
I'm not sure if Kauffman is right. I have Lafontaine's "Challange of the trout" written in 1976(?) and he talks about finding antron, "sparkle yarn", and scuba diving in the river w/ Bill Seeples and experimenting w/ the material.It was first published in an article in the 1974 newsletter from the Conn. flyfishers Assoc. So he was using it 30 yrs ago.
Mercer's name is a fairly recent name (at least to me) in the flyfishing arena.

Dble Haul
02-11-2003, 05:23 PM
FWIW, Mike Mercer has been on the scene for at least 25 years. He has several patterns with Umpqua, and Z-Lon is a material that he incorporates into many of his patterns.

I believe that he now works for a major fly shop based in CA, and is manager of all Alaskan travel expeditions that are offered by the shop.

02-11-2003, 05:42 PM
As I said , I have only heard his name for a relatively short time.
Z-Lon is also a fairly recent material on the market.It is not antron, but a similar material. I have tried it, as well as what they sell as antron.But nothing in my experiance works as well as the original "sparkle yarn" marketed by Dupont. This was not a swipe at Mike, as I have seen his flies and think he is very talented.
However, now that Gary is gone it is easy for someone to say
"Hey I did it first", and he can't respond or defend himself.

If Mike came up w/ it first, than all I can say is "Thanks", I have been using the pattern since '76 and it is great, my "go to" fly.
But Gary published first and from that stand point I will still give him credit.

I'm curious, does Mike say he did it first or is it only Kauffman who says Mike did it ? hmmmm........

02-11-2003, 05:53 PM
p.s. here is my version.Not a very sharp focus, but I didn't want to get out the tripod, lol.

02-11-2003, 09:31 PM
Originally posted by boarmountain
. . . Not a very sharp focus, but I didn't want to get out the tripod, lol.

Actually, the wood surface behind the fly is in focus so it looks like the camera focused on that rather than the fly. Here's how to fix that: If you have a "macro" setting on your camera try using that, as well as the "point" or "center" focus setting rather than the "multi-beam" focus. If that doesn't help (or if you already did that), then try moving the camera a little farther away from the fly. I ran into the same problem when I tried to take close-ups. Even using the above settings I had to position the camera a little over a foot away from the fly to get a clear photo. Hope this helps!


02-12-2003, 09:04 AM
I think you guys are comparing 2 different flies here. I tie mine with the deer-hair wing as well but it hardly matters. The key is the veil of antron to catch the light and bubbles. Works just as well over a dubbed body with a bead head.

Nice flies anyway. Seeing these FW patters has me thinking about March (not long now!)....


Dble Haul
02-13-2003, 08:13 AM
Dave, you are correct in that we're talking about two separate patterns here. This whole conversation got me curious, so I e-mailed Mike Mercer to ask him directly about the pattern and its origin. Here's his response:

Thanks for the interest in my pattern - always flattering! Gary's Deep Sparkle Pupa far outdates my pattern, which I just developed in the early 90's. I've always had fantastic luck with Gary's fly, and wanted to use what I believe to be a benchmark tying technique (Gary's use of the antron veil) in a pattern of my own - consequently, the Sparkle Quill Pupa. It's certainly not a better fly than Gary's, but sometimes works as well or better in streams where his fly is used heavily. I'm a big believer in always showing fish something fresh. Glad the fly has caught a few fish for you - nothing makes me feel better!

My best,

Mike Mercer