Posts Tagged ‘crackleback


Fly Tying: Norway’s Superpuppan (Emergency Fly)

This fly, the Superpuppan, is touted as a worthy wet fly or emerger pattern on a Norwegian trout blog. It looks similar to the late Ed Story’s Crackleback pattern. Both would be a nice, simple tie and seem productive on top, in the surface film or pulled beneath.

“…nothing seems to make the fish take. But it still rises. Then its time to bring out the emergency flies. The emergency fly no 1 is one we scandinavians call “Superpuppan”, or the super pupa. Its a fierce fly, imitating the hatching caddis. If you don´t have it already – get it !!!”

Crackleback Fly: Byron Haugh, Photograph: Hans Weilenmann (Danica)

This is a simple fly to tie. I would use better quality dry fly hackle rather than soft, webby hackle. In the top pattern (Superpuppan) you see a two tone colored body with a palmered hackle. There appears to be a bit of flash from some ribbing. In the Crackleback fly the body could be several different materials (floss, thread, dubbed, yarn) with peacock pulled over the top and then the hackle wrapped forward over the body. Like a large Griffith’s Gnat, these patterns will create a disturbance and animation. Simple and touted to be quite effective.


Fly Tying: Basic Pattern Progression (Woolly Worm to Woolly Bugger and more)

This post is about the beginner recognizing the pretty obvious progression of a pattern of tying, but also, a strong reminder that these basic patterns would and do take an enormous amount of freshwater fish. We often hasten our tying experience toward more complicated patterns (hence they must be more worthy) and leave behind simple patterns, that are fish magnets. The above pattern is representative of such a pattern. It could be tied from a size 2 to a size 18 and take countless fish. Body and hackle colors could be mixed and matched. You will note that there is no tail. The Woolly Worm is often seen with a red tail of red hackle fibers/barbs or a tuft of red synthetic yarn. The red tail is traditional, but a more subtle color  could be used.

The below pattern is a thicker view of a Woolly Worm with the tail.


You notice the fly is thicker with the chenille body and the prominent red tag tail of yarn. The tail is theorized to be an attractor. The body of this Woolly Worm is similar to that seen in recent years for the fly shop Woolly Bugger…

Woolly Bugger SwittersB

The late Ed Story of Missouri, tied the Crackleback pattern, akin to a miniature Woolly Worm, which he fished top to bottom and touted as his primary fly via his Feather Craft enterprise.

Crackleback ~ Byron Haugh (Tier) Han Weilenmann (Photography)

I hope you can see the simplistic beauty of this basic tying premise and not hasten away from it. Large and small, top to bottom, the basic bones of these patterns must not disappear from your fly box. A basic technique in all of them is palmering the hackle, usually rear to front. The hackle is tied in by the tip and wound forward, incrementally spaced out, over the abdomen/thorax area and tied off at the head. How you tie the hackle onto the shank determines whether the hackles angle forward or as most often backwards. Above in the Crackleback, the feather was tied in with the underside of the hackle facing forward; this caused the hackle barbs to angle forward. Usually the feather is tied in with the top or shiny side of the hackle facing forward; causing the hackle barbs to angle backwards. All of these patterns will be affected by the degree of stiffness in the hackle used.


Pheasant Tail Nymph (Tired and True)

I have stated my boredom with GRHE’s and PTN’s (a little insider acronym stuff there) But, truth be told and that is what we do here for better or worse, the Pheasant Tail Nymph is an excellent nymph in streams and stillwaters. Above you see ones I have tied as a flashback nymphs with copper wire ribs (a touch to heavy of wire, should have gone to small wire) and a peacock thorax. The flashback is mylar or strands of flashabou or Krystal Flash and the pheasant tail fibers are swept back to suggest legs. Sometimes in small sizes these legs can be omited and the fly tied in the traditional style (sans legs).

 A beadhead can be included for flies that are destined to tumble down moving waters. I would forgo the bead head on any fly that you intend to present in a steady, parallel direction, say in stillwates. The abdomen can be tied traditionally with pheasant tail feather fibers or for added density use copper wire, which is really nothing more than a Copper John. I have never altered from the natural color but recently I saw a PTN at the East Lake Resort store, which was tied with red pheasant tail fibers. It was nice looking pattern (see photo). the PTN is a very good and simple to tie pattern to match mayfly nymphal stages. These shown flies are on size 14 and 16 hooks. So although I am tired of some flies that does not mean they aren’t true(ly) (had to make sure you got the header) dependable patterns. Tumbled down a stream, tied on as a dropper or fished in the surface (without the bead) this fly is a proven fly and you always see it noted and recommended for the obvious reason.  

In the top pic you see Chironomid Pupa’s with peacock or peacock Ice Dub thorax and wine colored Krystal Flash body and silver ribbing. I tied them in two sizes (12/16’s). I tied green wired ‘Copper John’s’ behind those you see Cracklebacks, a Renegade and Olive Parachute. My boxes start out neat but I have remarked before upon how they end up: Double click on photos to zoom in for a detailed view.  I like the shot above, which I took outside in direct sunlight. Tim B. of planettrout gave me advice several months ago that his son takes certain shots outside. Turned out nice, I think. (Read!)

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