Cheddar Head Crane Fly

HOOK- TMC 100 #18

THREAD- Gordon Griffith’s 14/0 Primrose

BODY- creamy yellow or PMD yellow green, fine and dry dubbing

WING- white hackle tips

LEGS- 6 black pheasant tail barbs (knotted)

POST- golden yellow or hot pink synthetic post

HACKLE- Lt. ginger

Not a Mayfly

About ten years ago, I stumbled upon a variation of this pattern while ordering flies for the shop(Bentleys Outfitters). Orvis carried this crane fly imitation for 2 seasons and then it was gone from their availability. I was crushed. The pattern had worked during the sometimes prolific emergence of these insects on my local streams and had fooled trout when nothing else in my box had been effective. The design and color was slightly different back then, but there was no other “dry” crane fly available on the commercial market, and the legs were a near perfect match for the natural. With a few slight changes to the original pattern, the Cheddar Head Crane Fly was born. Throughout the year, Crane flies are a part of the trouts’ diet in both larva and adult stages. There are a number of species of crane flies in our local streams and the colors and sizes of these insects are all different. More crane fly patterns are on the market now, and I always carry some of the larger versions for the emergence of those crane flies later in the season. The Cheddar Head Crane Fly will never replace the Adams Parachute as your “go to” fly, BUT as you tirelessly throw everything in your box at the wild feeding trout in front of you without even the village idiot fish taking a look at your fly, you will have the revelation built out of frustration that all successful fly anglers have experienced. You will look closer, focus harder, and realize that you have misidentified the bugs flying everywhere for mayflies when they were really the wispy legged crane fly trying to teach you a lesson. The light bulb will once again turn on and you will put a few of these bad boys in your box……..for the next time.

A note about the Cheddar Head pattern;

Many anglers believe that the long wispy legs of the crane fly are the characteristic that trigger the fish to strike. This crane fly is designed to “show off” these legs, not to ride the water on the points of the legs. Since the legs of this fly are somewhat difficult to get to behave while tying the pattern I generally fold them up and even with the body before the first cast. this enables the legs to act more as outriggers for better floatation. The fly is meant to ride low to the water; it is a parachute tie. The Cheddar Head is not intended to be a great skittering pattern, although twitching the fly can often get a  response from finicky trout.  Don’t let the #18 hook size fool you into thinking this is a small fly. It was designed to imitate one of the numerous hatches of crane fly in the region has the profile of a much bigger fly.