This pattern is a wonderfully versatile nymph/ wet-fly hybrid that may be used to great effect throughout the season. Its body is tied slim using just a few strands of pale-coloured pheasant tail fibres ribbed with fine, silver wire. The peacock herl thorax is tied well forward so that it helps the collar hackle to kick-up rather than sit low over the body. The intention of this is to make the hackle fibres work better in the water. To give the hackle extra mobility a soft-fibred cock hackle, or better still a hen hackle, is used.
This should be a pale honey colour with a dark centre. The tail, which is also of honey-coloured hackle fibres, should be tied quite long to suggest the shuck of a hatching insect.
Hook Size 10-14 in a range of
weights. Thread Black or brown
Tail Honey coloured hackle fibres
Rib Fine silver wire Body Pale
coloured pheasant tail fibres
Thorax Peacock herl Hackle Light
furnace or Greenwell hen hackle
1. Secure the hook in the vice and run the thread down the shank to the bend. Catch in a small bunch of pale ginger hackle fibres, two inches of silver wire plus six fibres of cock pheasant tail.
2. Wind the tying thread back up the shank in close turns. By covering the waste ends of the hackle fibres, wire and pheasant tail fibres, an even base for the body is formed.
3. Take hold of the pheasant tail fibres and wind then over the thread base. Don’t twist the fibres, instead allowing them to lie flat so the finished body is as slim as possible.
4. Secure the ends of the pheasant tail with turns of tying thread and remove the excess. Wind the silver wire over the body in open, evenly spaced turns. These turns should be wound in the opposite direction to the body material.
5. Winding the wire, so that it crosses the turns of pheasant tail fibres, locks them in place. Secure the loose end of the wire with thread turns and remove the excess by wiggling it back and forth.
6. Take two slim, well-coloured strands of peacock herl and catch them in by their tips just in front of the body.
7. Gently twist the peacock herls together to produce a thin rope. Wind the herls up to the eye forming a small, but distinct thorax.
8. Take a dark Greenwell hen hackle and prepare it by removing the downy fibres from the base to leave a short section of bare stem. Catch in the hackle at the front of the thorax with two or three thread turns.
9. Using a pair of hackle pliers, grasp the tip of the hackle and wind on two full turns. The effect should be quite full.
10. Secure the hackle tip with tying thread and remove the excess. Stroke the hackle fibres back over the body and position with further thread turns. Finally build a neat head and cast off with a whip finish.
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.