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Muddled Daddy
By Raif Killips, UK

This is a modified cranefly pattern, developed primarily for fishing lakes when there is a good wave. It is most effective when fish are feeding at the surface on the natural flies, but the pattern also works well as an attractor or wake fly, drawing strikes from cruising fish. Back in my college days under Illinois evening skies, the muddled daddy used to work well on bass and the occasional panfish. While this is, or was, a standard pattern in the UK in the 1980's, I see it in fly shops less frequently now, and online it is a rarity.

The pattern borrows from several other daddy patterns and is not an original, just a variation. The wings and legs for instance, are tied the way Richard Walker used to recommend. And several other characteristics are derived from patterns featured in the UK angling press of the early 1980s.

Muddled Daddy

    Hook: 8 - 14 Curved Sedge Hook.

    Thread: 140 White UTC or 6/0 Uni.

    Body: Furled Tan Wool.

    Legs: Knotted Pheasant Tail.

    Wings: Honey Hackle Points.

    Hackle: Brown Dry Fly.

    Head: Natural Deer Hair.

    Tying Instructions for the Muddled Daddy:

      1. Start the thread behind the eye and run it to just past the start of the bend.

      2. Tie in a furled wool or venille body section at the start of the bend.

      3. Cut away the surplus wool and make several tight securing wraps of thread. Aim to leave a smooth profile.

      4. Now tie in two sets of three legs either side of the body so that they trail backwards. Stagger the legs in each set of three so the leg joints don't all line up the same.

      5. Prepare two hackle point wings and tie in flat and trailing like the legs to the back of the pattern.

      6. Tie in a brown cock hackle and build a light but even thread base to wind the hackle on to. Before winding the hackle I like to add a small drop of varnish to the thread base so it is tacky when I wind the hackle. This is just for a little extra durability.

      7. Make several turns of hackle, tie off and cut away the surplus feather.

      8. Now build up a gently tapered thread base onto which you can spin and stack the deer hair. The heavy tying thread and combination of materials make it difficult to avoid a hump of thread after the hackle. Note: If you start tying in deer hair on this hump you will find it difficult to get an even spread of hair and also to avoid slippage off the thread shoulder.

      9. Tie in the first bunch of deer hair with the fine tips facing the rear of the fly. I prefer not to use a stacker but I do like to comb out the under-fur from the deer hair.

      10. Spin the deer hair and tie in another bunch immediately after the first. Continue tying in and spinning hair until the hook is loaded right up to the eye. You may prefer to stop short of the eye. As I spin the deer hair head I like to add a little varnish to the thread base, as with the hackle, for extra durability.

      11. Whip finish and reach for a sharp blade ready to trim the deer hair head down to size.

      12. Trim the head to your preference. I like to leave the head large and flared. Otherwise, I cut to a ball shaped profile - sometimes the fish seem to prefer that. The most important thing is to trim the head close to the hook shank underneath so that the hair doesn't obstruct the hook point (see the main photograph). I also trim out the hackle underneath.

      13. From above the fly should end up looking something like this.

      14. Finished fly.

    About Raif:

    I've fished since I was old enough to dabble a worm in London's Ruislip Lido and I've fished and tied flies since moving to the Peak District National Park in the late 1970s. Now I live in Nottingham, UK, and am lucky enough to have some of Britain's finest rivers and lakes just on my doorstep. My regular spot is a secluded beat of the beloved Derbyshire Derwent.

    When I'm not out there fishing, or hiking, I work as a web production manager. In the slots of time left beween my freelance work and fishing trips, I work on my website ~ Raif Killips, UK.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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