Black and green is a very effective colour combination for stillwater trout flies, especially when used early and late in the season. When water temperatures are low and the trout reluctant to feed, patterns such as the Green Pea or the bigger Black and Green Tadpole, both of which have highly mobile tails of black marabou, will take fish when more imitative patterns are ignored.
When using marabou the aim is to impart as much movement as possible to the finished fly. To this end, it is a good idea to keep the tail long and the body short rather than vice-versa. Often a size 10, or even 12, standard wet-fly model is used, the tail being two or three times the length of the hook. This way there is enough of the soft feather tail to give a wonderfully attractive action with a steady figure-of-eight retrieve.
With patterns of this type it is worth adding a little weight, in the form of lead wire, under the body materials. This is simply to counteract the parachute effect of the long marabou tail, not to make the fly sink very quickly. Add too much weight and, although the ducking, diving action produced will be effective, the fly will need to be fished too quickly to prevent it from snagging the bottom.
Hook Size 10-12 wet-fly Thread Black
Weight Fine lead wire Tail Black
marabou with two or three strands of
pearl tinsel (optional) Body Black
chenille Thorax Fluorescent lime-green
chenille Hackle Black cock hackle
1. Having fixed the hook in the vice, take a length of fine lead wire and begin winding it along the shank.
2. Continue winding the lead wire in close turns until it has covered about two thirds of the shank. Leave a gap to the rear of the underbody for the tail.
3. Secure the wire in place with tying thread. If necessary, add a drop of Superglue first. Remove a long, slim tuft of black marabou from the plume.
4. With the tying thread positioned opposite the barb, catch in the marabou to form a long tail.
5. Secure the tail with tight thread wraps around its base and over the waste ends. Catch in two or three fine strands of pearl tinsel or Flashabou of the same length as the marabou.
6. Take three inches of black chenille and remove the fibres to expose a short section of core. Catch in the chenille, at the tail base, by this bare core.
7. Wind the thread two thirds of the way along the shank then begin winding the chenille in close turns.
8. Secure the loose end of the chenille and remove the excess. Take two inches of fluorescent lime-green chenille, and, having exposed a short section of core, catch it in at the front of the body.
9. Wind this, too, in close turns to form a short, bright, aiming-point. Two or three turns is enough on a hook of this size. Secure the loose end and remove.
10. Catch in a black cock hackle immediately in front of the fluorescent green chenille. Using hackle pliers, wind on two or three full turns.
11. Secure the end of the hackle with thread and remove the excess. Stroke the fibres back over the body before building a small, neat head.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
The Cruncher is a great all-round pattern but at its best when trout begin feeding consistently in shallow water on larvae and pupae.
W H E N
As it is a general rather than an imitative pattern, the Cruncher works well right throughout the season. It is most effective during settled conditions and works well when the trout are taking anything from midge pupae to olive nymphs but is well worth using when the trout’s feeding pattern is less specific.
H O W
The Cruncher may be fished on a variety of line densities but works especially well in conjunction with a floating line and a long leader. As part of a three-fly team it makes a great point fly, especially when fished with a steady figure-of-eight retrieve. Depending on the depth at which it is to be fished the Cruncher can be tied on a variety of sizes and types of hook. Heavy hooks, up to a size 10, work best when it needs to be fished deep, with smaller, lighter wire models more effective for presenting it just subsurface.
T Y I N G T I P
When tying feather-fibre bodies try winding the material in the opposite way to normal. That way when the rib is wound, so that it crosses the fibres and holds them in place, it doesn’t look the wrong way round.