Daddy Longlegs

The term terrestrials describes “land based” insects which live close to the water. These insects enter the fish’s kingdom mostly accidentally. They fall off overhanging vegetation or are blown onto the water by wind. They aren’t very good swimmers either.

It can be very productive fishing these type of imitations though, the Daddy Longlegs pattern has an almost mystical fame.

Apart from their good fishability they are a lot of fun to tie. There are more people familiar with land insects than their aquatic cousins. Tying terrestrials is good fun and one often receives very good comments from fishermen and non-anglers alike as this easy pattern looks very much like the real «thing».

Cranefly a.k.a. Daddy Longlegs is a two winged insect which is found all over the world. It looks a bit like a mosquito on steroids. A slender body and thin, long legs and two wings. Their wingspan varies from 1 to 5 or even 6 cm.

The adult female usually contains mature eggs as she emerges from her pupa, and often mates immediately if a male is available. Males also search for females by walking or flying. Copulation takes a few minutes to hours and may be accomplished in flight. Adults have a lifespan of 10 to 15 days. The female immediately oviposits (lays eggs), usually in wet soil or mats of algae. Some lay eggs on the surface of a water body or in dry soils, and some reportedly simply drop them in flight. Cranefly larvae (leatherjackets) have been observed in many habitat types on dry land and in water, including marine, brackish and freshwater. They are cylindrical in shape, but taper toward the front end, and the head capsule is often retracted into the thorax. The abdomen may be smooth, lined with hairs, or studded with projections or welt-like spots. Larvae may eat algae, microflora, and living or decomposing plant matter, including wood. Some are predatory.

These insects make some people (to just girls) scream, it might be the long legs. Konstanse still shivers – even after she has tied one herself. The shape must trigger some very basic instincts. Trout react differently – they do not run away, they just want to eat that thing.

Daddy Longlegs fall into the category “Terrestrial”, it means they get blown onto the water. So it is okay if the fly looks a bit crushed. It does not need to have the legs exactly placed and spaced like a healthy unharmed specimen, nor does it need very pretty wings. Plastic wings often make the fly rotate in the air. A twisted tippet breaks much quicker, plus it is much more visible.


So here is my “Real Daddy”, which looks like the real thing – after been hit by a truck.

Hook: Czech Nymph hook size 14 

Thread: Dyneema 55

 Body: Poly-chenille

Legs: Pheasant tail fibres knotted once or twice. You can either buy them ready or knot them yourself with a knitting needle.


Fly Tying at Skålestrømmen

Fly tying classes are part of the inclusive packages we offer at Skålestrømmen. You can learn to make these all these flies yourself. Tying materials and tools will be supplied if cannot bring your own.

The fly shown works very well in Skålestrømmen (and around the world). There are of course many other, mostly more complicated types of flies that also work, but we like it simple and efficient.

However, do not worry. A selection of flies is included in the  fly fishing packages we offer. You can also buy flies and materials in our flyshop.

THIS MATERIAL IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT. Excerpt From Fly Tying by Thomas Züllich available on Apple iBooks
THIS MATERIAL IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT. Excerpt From Fly Tying by Thomas Züllich available on Apple iBooks