Daddy long legs.
This article was publish in Flyfishing&Flytying magazine.
There are more than 300 different species of crane flies and are comment on all kinds of waters. The biggest has a wing span of around 65mm and the smallest from about 15mm. You can find crane flies from late spring up to far in the autumn. They are bad flyers so if there is a little wind they often land up in the water to become an snack for fish. Such large insects presents a good mouthful to the fish. Another good thing for these flies are that you don’t need a hatch, a daddy is a big snack for a fish an worth the afford. These flies are particularly important to the reservoir and big river fisherman, because a large expanse of water is often an too great distance for these insects to fly across.
Fish them on a long leader, I use up to 5 meters, and let the wind take your fly away then just wait for a fish to find it. You can also drag a daddy long legs through a heavy ripple, to irritate the fish and let it bite on aggression. I like to fish them on big rivers en lakes. Spicily on windiest days. They are blown into the water and can’t get out.
Because of the wings I use, you need an anti twist connector or a heavy tippet but the fish don’t bother that is my experience, the footprint of this fly is so real that they can’t resist it. A strike is very clear and hard to miss.
On the lake of Oostvoorne I caught my biggest brown trout on a Daddy, 68 cm pure power. And on big rivers in Norway like the Glomma and the Trysil I had some good days fishing whit a Daddy and caught nice and big graylings.
Hook: Partridge Czech nymph fine wire size 14.
Thread: any brown 8/0 will do, as long as you can split it.
Dubbing: light brown, green and orange all from SLF.
Eyes: broom bristle green.
Legs: knotted pheasant tail.
Wings: JP Realistic wings, daddy long legs.
Thorax: thin piece of foam.
Here is my latest variant of a daddy long legs.For this fly I am going to made the body extended, I do this the way you might already know, whit a needle, dubbing and varnish.The technique for this fly is the same but I think it is easier, faster and more durable.
1: So take your dubbing needle and wrap it with your hard wax, make sure you touch it all.
2: Take a big clump of fine dubbing in the collar you like, I use a light brown and mix it with a little green and orange from SLF.
3: Mixed clump of dubbing.
4: Start wrapping the dubbing around the needle , by spinning the needle in one hand and hold the dubbing between your fingers of your other hand, wrap it as tide as you can.
5: It now should look like this.
6: Instead of using varnish now I use Bug Bond.
7: Cover the whole needle with a layer of Bug Bond.
8: Squeeze it between your finger and spread it over the needle.
9: Hold your needle close to the lamp and turn it slowly around for about 15 seconds, you have now close the body and made it very durable.
10: Now comes the part that makes it easy, take a lighter and quickly turn your body trough the flame, what happens now is that all the tiny hairs that stick out are burnt away and your wax get soft.
11: You can now very easy and with out any force pull the body form the needle, and it is ready for use right away.
12: As you can see there is a perfect hollow body.
13: Cut it under an angel, for easy tying in.
14: Put your hook in the vise, set up your thread and take a broom bristle, cut off 1 cm of it.
15: Hold it between your pliers and burn the ends down.
16: Now you create some small eyeballs.
17: Tie them in just behind the hook eye.
18: Tie in the body, tie it in very tied, your are now closing in the air in the body and make a balloon of the body, and this make the fly unsinkable.
19: For the legs I use knotted pheasant tails, you can knot them yourself or like I did buy them knotted.
0: Take 6 fibers and tie 3 fibers on each side, let them stick out just a bit longer then the body.
21: Tie in a piece off 2 mm wide foam.
22: Select a pair off JP Realistic wings.
23: Fold them so they fit to each other.
24: Now cut them out, the profit of this is that you have cut them out in once and they are symmetric. The wings should now like this.
25: Tie them in and fold the end back and tie that piece down to secure the wings.
26: Apply some color to wings, for wings I use most of the time sepia, this color cover a lot of insect wings.
27: select 2 or 3 CDC feathers.
28: Put them between a paper clam and cut out the stem.
29: Spread your threat and put the fibers between it.
30: Spin your thread and it should look now like this.
31: Start dubbing whit the CDC forwards.
32: All the way up until behind the eyes.
33: fold the foam down just behind the eyes and tie it down whit 3 wrap and go with your thread behind the hook eye.
34: pull out and press down the foam between the eyes and tie it down.
35: Tie off, cut off the waste of the foam and color the thorax brown. Your semi realistic daddy long legs is ready now, have fun fishing it.
36: Side few.
I hope you enjoy the tying and that I have give you some new inspiration with the technique of the rear body, the wings and the Bug Bond.