The Bead Head Epoxy Back PMD is a perfect anatomical representation of the Pale Morning Dun. From perfectly splayed tails and legs, to carefully placed gills at the beginning of the abdomen this fly will not disappoint. A must-have for any trout stream.
The Story of Mercer’s Poxyback PMD
Creative fly tyer, Mike Mercer, is generally credited with creating the “Poxyback” style of artificial fly. Mr. Mercer will tell you, however, that “the Poxyback style came to me from the genius of others.” In fact, Mercer has credited three other accomplished fly anglers and tyers, Andy Burk, Rich Henry, and Hal Janssen, with providing the inspiration to work with epoxy on nymphs.
Regardless of who gave the idea its first breath, the use of epoxy in both beaded and non-beaded nymphs and wet fly patterns to imitate the particular dark wetness and shine that develops along the backs and wing pads of mature nymphs has become quite popular among the world’s fly tyers and fly fishers in recent years.
Mercer’s Poxyback PMD is a fantastically shaggy imitation of the Pale Morning Dun in its mature nymph life stage. Mercer designed this fly with realism and movement in mind; it’s got ragged marabou gills, and its cleverly epoxied wing pads offer a striking underwater realism that feeding trout just can’t ignore!
When and Where to Fish Mercer’s Poxyback PMD
This mayfly nymph can be fished as either an impressionistic fly pattern when searching for trout or as a realistic imitation when matching the hatch. When searching, fish this fly in medium to fast water. When fishing the Pale Morning Dun hatch, try this pattern out just prior to or during the hatch of adult duns.
How to Fish Mercer’s Poxyback PMD
Fish this fly on a dead drift through faster riffles and tailouts, as these nymphs thrive in well oxygenated water. You can also find success by employing a high stick nymphing technique when fishing this fly pattern. You can also swing it or fish it under a dry dropper rig.
The Pale Morning Dun
The Pale Morning Dun (Ephemerella inermisor infrequens), commonly referred to as a “PMD,” is a mayfly that enjoys wide distribution throughout North America’s trout waters, although it is particularly prolific in the rivers of the American West and Northeast. The Pale Morning Dun follows the life stages of a typical mayfly life cycle and generally hatches from early spring (May) to late summer (August).
PMD Nymph Life Stage
During its nymph life stage, these crawlers are commonly found inching along rocky and debris-littered river bottoms. These nymphs thrive in moderate to fast water. Look for them in medium to fast moving riffles, tailouts, and runs. PMD nymphs aren’t usually vulnerable until just before they hatch into adult duns due to their reclusive habits and the shelter of their rocky environment. When preparing to hatch, however, PMD nymphs typically spend some time swimming slowly within the water column, where they are exposed as food to hungry trout.
About the Tyer: Mike Mercer
Mike Mercer is a self-proclaimed “hopeless fly fishing junkie with an incurable addiction to the vise.” Such honest and direct words are not surprising from Mr. Mercer, a fly angler and tyer known for his innovative uses of fly tying materials and creative fly designs. In fact, it wouldn’t be off the mark to say his fly patterns actually reflect both his honesty and directness.
Mercer has been fishing all his life, but catching his first smallmouth bass on a fly rod blew open the proverbial gates, sending him deep into the fly fishing world. With the help of his grandfather’s old pickup truck, Mercer explored the fantastic trout water of California’s rich wilderness areas. With his youthful enthusiasm for traveling with a fly rod, he actually opened a fly shop of his own. At Mike Mercer’s Rod and Fly (doubling as the basement of his parents’ house) a fly fisher could find a selection of custom fly rods, fly fishing and fly tying magazines, and Mike himself, behind the vise, whipping up box loads of custom flies.
As a fly fishing guide, writer, travel consultant, and creative fly tyer, Mercer has been able to form a unique perspective on the sport and share it with other fly anglers across the world. His fly designs have appeared in magazine, in books, and with the help of Umpqua Feather Merchants, anglers across the globe have been able to fish a Mike Mercer creation hard and with great success in waters near and far.
Mercer’s designs often hinge on an idea that “seems obvious” but from a design perspective, these are often the very best kinds of ideas. Mercer continues to create great flies and is a tremendous resource to the fly fishing and fly tying community.