It's Daddy Time!

Its Daddy Time!

A common fly that appears in our gardens and homes towards the backend, Daddy Long Legs (Craneflies) really need no introduction here, as they’re instantly recognizable by those six gangly legs. Gardeners know they larvae stage of daddies as leatherjacket, which are considered a pest as they eat the roots of various plants and vegetables. These larvae eventually pupate and what emerges from the soil is an adult cranefly, which makes them a terrestrial. Craneflies can be found far and wide, especially in undisturbed areas like bracken clad fells.


As Daddies are weak fliers they are easily blown onto water, even in light breezes. That and their sheer size makes them an important part of a trout’s diet, especially during late summer when they’re most prevalent. So whether you’re venturing onto a stillwater, or river, make a point of carry a few daddy patterns in your box!

Fishing the Daddy:

Because daddy long legs fall onto water, our initial approach then should be dry fly tactics. There are any number of daddy patterns and they all work well. Given a light breeze, I prefer a buoyant, high riding fly as this is how the natural will sit on the water. Usually, it’s a case of seeing a splashy rise and dropping your fly in the immediate area. The occasional tweak doesn’t hurt now, as this mimics the natural, which will kick and shudder at the surface


Given more blustery conditions, daddies can drown fairly quickly. Now is he time for a low riding fly, or one that is partially swamped. Again, our presentation should be a static fly, but don’t be afraid of twitching the fly from time to time.

When gales whip up white wave tops, a drowned daddy, or wet fly is our line of attack now. Whether it’s a lake, reservoir, or tarn, on stillwaters I’ll head for the windward (exposed) shoreline. Granted, casting is more challenging now, but it’s hear that drowned daddies will gather and trout are often found tight against the bank, especially in undisturbed areas. Here a daddy pattern that sinks is your best bet. This should be cast almost parallel with the bank and inched back using a steady figure-of-eight retrieve.

On the whole, daddy patterns are large, bushy affairs, so they require a stout tippet. I find a tapered leader of some 9ft with a 2-3ft tippet length of 6lb breaking strain adequate. Dropping down to flimsy tippets of say 3lb or so is counterproductive as this finer monofilaments often twist now, or collapse when casting as they don’t have the necessary ‘oomph’ to turn over larger flies properly. Furthermore, heavier tippets guard against smash takes which can occur when fishing daddy flies.

Top Tip: If you’re after a high riding imitation then douse you fly in one of the liquid/spray type floatants as this covers the whole fly to render it fully treated. For a low riding, or partially drowned fly, look to the gel type treatments as the floatant can just be applied to a specific part of the fly, like the upper hackle for example and hence the bulk of your fly now sits subsurface.

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