Welcome

Welcome to Fly fishing and Fly Tying magazine's website, once you register, you'll gain access to the Blogs, Forum and Shop.

If you cannot register successfully, contact us.

Member Login

Lost your password?

Search This Site

Year of the big Daddy

Daddy-long-legs numbers look to be 'on the up', so be prepared with an imitation


Mylar-tag Daddy for trickling across the wave.
Mylar-tag Daddy for trickling across the wave.
1. Step 1 Catch in thread and run to rear of hook catchin in Mirage tinsel as you go.
1. Step 1 Catch in thread and run to rear of hook catchin in Mirage tinsel as you go.
2. Wind on and secure tinsel tag and apply tiny amount of varnish to help protect it.
2. Wind on and secure tinsel tag and apply tiny amount of varnish to help protect it.
3. Wind thread up to head then dub on grey squirrel to thread forming a 'rope'.
3. Wind thread up to head then dub on grey squirrel to thread forming a 'rope'.
4. Wind down to dub body of fly then rib back up in open turns with thread.
4. Wind down to dub body of fly then rib back up in open turns with thread.
5. Take small bunch of pre-knotted pheasant tail legs and tie in on top of fly.
5. Take small bunch of pre-knotted pheasant tail legs and tie in on top of fly.
6. Take a bunch of deer hair, remove under-fur and stack before tying in to form wing.
6. Take a bunch of deer hair, remove under-fur and stack before tying in to form wing.
7. Trim tag ends of deer hair and secure then tie in the grizzle hackle by stem.
7. Trim tag ends of deer hair and secure then tie in the grizzle hackle by stem.
8. Wind on four turns of hackle stroking hackle back each turn, secure and trim off waste.
8. Wind on four turns of hackle stroking hackle back each turn, secure and trim off waste.
9. Whip-finish head and varnish.
9. Whip-finish head and varnish.
10. (Optional) Trim hackle level below for a lower riding fly, I have some like this for fishing static dry.
10. (Optional) Trim hackle level below for a lower riding fly, I have some like this for fishing static dry.

Following on from Charles Jardine’s excellent article on ants in the current issue of Fly Fishing and Fly Tying (October 2021) I thought it might be a good time to remind everyone of the possible bonanza that we can get towards the end of our trout season; that fly we all have in our box and the easiest and most recognisable of them all, the humble Cranefly, or ‘Daddy long legs’ as they’re more freely known.

Thing with ‘daddies’ is they can be so unpredictable in appearance; too dry a summer and their numbers are low, likewise if it’s too wet. Too windy when they do appear and they hunker down, same as when it’s cooler or raining heavily.

Being the type of insect that prefers the warm to help it get moving, then for a real ‘bonanza’ we obviously need the right conditions, that said they are way hardier than they look, and anglers have the bonus in that they are active day or night so even when scarce, trout recognise them as prey.

This year we’ve had quite a mix of weather which, for ‘daddies’ means that numbers will be, and certainly are, way up and it is possible (I’ve already found this) for trout to become ‘locked on’ to the point they are almost pre-occupied with this cumbersome and ungainly big mouthful. 

So, it’s with high anticipation (and a degree of hope) that I’m looking towards the ‘back-end’ this year being a ‘Daddy Year’, with big falls and trout keen to feed on these whenever possible. Brilliant and highly spectacular when you encounter this in a good fall, but also means that it’s very worthwhile simply searching 'blind’ / speculating with a Daddy pattern both on our lochs and stillwaters as well as rivers and streams.
Working this iconic fly along the shoreline, letting it swing naturally with any breeze, or being bobbed across the surface on a ‘short line’ style approach is both memorable as well as mesmerising. In fact, it’s just the type of fishingt that makes you want to get out there and enjoy it every day.

As for patterns, there are more of these as there are days in a year (in fact, days in a decade), everyone has a favourite, and I’d bet every fly tyer has created at least three of their own. For me it’s a case of keeping it as simple as possible (have I mentioned I’m a lazy tyer who likes to cut as many corners as possible when creating fish ammunition?), something that is both rugged as well as having the trigger-points and, as with all useable flies, is expendable.

Well OK, the way I came up with tying a detached deer hair body directly on the hook is a little bit fiddly, I admit, but it’s certainly robust and looks as natural as the insect itself.  But I also admit there’s much easier ways of doing this, I might even suggest the deer hair detached body has become largely superseded in recent years with floating yarn or foam.

Whatever you choose, if it hits a general likeness both in overall appearance and, arguably more importantly, the way you fish it, I know that the fish will be quick to respond, especially if we get loads of them around.  Preaching to the converted I may be, but make sure you’ve a few ‘daddies’ in your fly box.

Existing comments


Leave your comment below

You must first login or register to leave comments

Back to top

Search the site