September 2011 Fly of the Month: Daddy Long Legs
The Daddy Long Leg fly is an ancient fly dating back to the 1400's. The very historic Fly Fisher Cotton mentions this fly in his book "The Compleat Angler", although the name that he uses in the book is "Harry Long-Legs". The fly is also mentioned in one of the first fly fishing books ever written in 1496, called The Treatysse of Fysshynge with an Angle" (clearly spelling wasn't a top priority!) and written by the Abbess of Shropshire, Dame Juliana Berners. Back in those days, the sporting men would catch the actual natural insect and attach it to their hook.
Today's fly fishermen, however, prefer to use the artificial imitation. Over 300 different species of crane fly populate all kinds of water throughout North America. They are more popularly known as "daddy-long-legs" but are properly classified as part of the Tipulidae biological family. These "daddies" are a very familiar site at water side at the tail end of summer - mainly early August through early October. It is around this time that they get blown onto the water by the fall breeze, and when they do, they struggle to become airborne once they fall in. It presents a very appealing snack to a trout, and they respond quickly when they fall in.
To take advantage of this, take your Daddy Long Leg fly to an area where trout activity is obvious on the surface. It is best to dunk the fly well in floatant. Then you wait for the fish to find it. When you do get a take, don't strike right away, as the trout is going to try to drown the fly first before finally taking it in it's mouth. Wait for the fish to swim out with your line, then lift your rod high to set the hook and bring him in.
These flies are best for trout, but can also be used for sea trout and salmon. They are especially good for windy day river fishing, as that is when many are blown into the water, priming the trout for your fly and big catch.
Now get out their and fish!
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