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Cranky Cripple, PMD
By Roy Christie, Harrow, UK

The cranky cripple is a reversed parachute surface emerger. This style was developed for fussy trout and is designed specifically to address some serious issues of presentation.

Primarily it forces the tippet to sink, thus it gives a specific light pattern, without interference of that pattern by any distortion of the surface mirror. Next it provides for a gentle landing on the surface and holds fast in the meniscus, due to its balance and the effect of the parachute hackle. Also the footprint of the fly disguises the hook as the hook point disappears into the image of the hackle. The hook hangs sidelong in the water so it is less apparent on inspection from below. Drag is minimized as the tippet is sunk.

This fly type has been tested across the US and the UK over a period of over twenty years and has proved deadly when most other patterns have been ignored by well trained trout and grayling. It should be tied to match the hatch in size and colour and is best dressed on a lightweight long shank grub hook

Materials for the Cranky Cripple

    Hook: Lightweight longshank grub hook #16 -20.

    Thread: Uni rusty brown 8/0.

    Tails: Hare's mask guard hairs dyed yellow.

    Rib/Post: Monofil tippet material.

    Abdomen: Fur dubbing mixture to match the hatch. For this PMD I used a mix of olive/cream/orange Dazi-Haresear by Spirit River.

    Hackle: Ewing neck grade #1 which I dyed gold the barbs should be equal to one and a quarter times hook gape and be about six turns around one side of the mono loop.

    Thorax: Fur dubbing mixture to match the hatch, a mix of olive/grey/orange Dazi-Haresear by Spirit River.

Instructions for the Cranky Cripple:

The hook should be cranked about twenty degrees, about a third of the way back from the eye.

1. Lay a bed of thread from opposite the barb to the eye of the hook.

2. Tie in a half dozen hares mask guard hairs, angled toward the tyer.

3. Tie in the monofil for ribbing and later it will be the post.

4. Dub thread lightly with body mixture for the abdomen.

5. Dub the abdomen.

6. Rib the abdomen with the monofilament and tie in...DO NOT CUT OFF.

7. Turn a mono loop and tie it in firmly with the tag end over the vise. The mono loop should be angled toward the tyer.

8. Tie in the hackle at the base of the loop/post.

9. Dub thread with thorax mixture.

10. Wrap the dubbing to cover thorax finishing at the junction with the abdomen.

11. Whip finish between Thorax and abdomen and cut off thread.

12. Spiral the hackle around one side of the mono loop making sure there is minimal slack.

13. Support the loop with your finger and let the hackle plier hang down through the loop to keep tension.

14. Support the loop with a dubbing needle; pull on the tag end of the mono to close the loop. As the loop disappears, remove needle and hold the pliers to retain tension. Pull home the mono.

15. Release the pliers and cut off the monofilament. The fly is complete.

16. Completed fly.

Tie it and try it - always degrease the tippet. ~ Roy Christie

About Roy:

Roy Born 1953 near the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland; started fishing when I was four or five, flyfishing a few years later, tying flies since I was about ten years old, bred bantams ducks and pheasants for their feathers. Self taught tyer, learned from Hanna, Skues, Stewart and Pritt. There were fairies at the bottom of the garden and a trout stream at the end of the first field.

When the stream was dredged in the late 1960's I rebuilt it as a self cleaning entity producing a good head of brown trout.

Founder member of the Wandle Wands, the self-appointed group for restoration of the River Wandle, a tributary of the Thames in London UK, once a designated sewer, now producing wild fish in excess of ten pounds.

My river flies are mainly nymphs from Skues; my Avon Special emerger, developed for English chalkstreams 1981; my Reversed Parachute and Cranky Cripple emergers, similarly designed for those canny southern browns; my EasyPeasyUSD for presenting an effective light pattern to fish feeding on the adult insects and the Flat Spent Spinner, for the tail end of the hatch.

Favourite flies include the hare's ear & copper wire nymph; CDC & Elk, Skues' Little Red Sedge and various homespun caddis patterns for pupa and adults.

Ambitions to ensure my grandchildren have a beautiful planet to live on and to live forever by an ever changing stream full of trout grayling and salmon.

Other minor obsessions - Citroen DS and Sharpes Canes. ~ Roy


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


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