around thirty years ago i came into the possession of an old aluminum fly box filled with a particular style of fly tied in different colors and sizes. a brown rooster hackle was then palmered over the body. i later discovered that the pattern was called a crackleback. the flies were tied in four or five sizes and at least a half a dozen different colors. at some point in time, a crackleback ended up in a warm water fly box and quickly became one of my favorites for panfish. the fly was designed to be fished as a dry in moving water. at the end of your drift, the fly is jerked underwater and “skipped or stripped” back to you. the fly would be cast to a likely spot and presented as a dry fly. i then would slowly bring in the fly with a hand twist retrieve. over the years i have modified the original pattern slightly for fishing for panfish.
in my panfish version, i changed the hook from a standard dry fly hook to a 3x long curved nymph hook like a tiemco 200r. the nymph hook also adds a little more weight and helps the fly to sink. this change is a vast improvement since i now prefer to fish the pattern as a subsurface fly. the final change was the addition of a small tuft of marabou as a tail. it adds a little bit of contrasting color, and i like the way it looks. many will argue that this fly is no longer a crackleback and they would be right. while i can’t guarantee “near instant success” for you, i will say the pattern works for me most of the time. give this one a try and while you are at it tie up a few of the original versions as well. do you want to know when new products arrive in the shop? do you want access to special discounts and sales?
the crackleback is an effective pattern that can be fished as a dry fly or a wet fly. tying it as a dry fly, used the dry fly hooks tmc100 or tmc101. tying it as a wet fly, use the wet fly hooks tmc200r or tmc5263. it can be tied with different materials and colors. see picture below. carolyn parker from river run outfitters, ties the pumpkin crackleback using the uni-stretch pumpkin. her fly introduced me to the uni-stretch thread and now use it for all my cracklebacks. two tying tips: when tying off the uni-stretch, suggest that you start a new thread uni-thread 8/0 black to tie off the uni-stretch. this will eliminate the buildup of thread around the eye of the hook. and second, i use a little super glue on the top of the body before i pull the peacock herl forward. this will give the fragile herl strength, and also keep the herl from sliding down the sides. these flies are a must for any fly box and suggest that you have extras and some in all color combinations.
one of the flies you see us mention alot in our reports is the crackleback. this pattern was originally developed by ed story of feathercraft in st. louis, the crackleback is a versatile fly with the ability to be fished as a dry or under the surface. the fly was designed to be fished as a dry in it’s one of those dry-fly patterns that you can also strip below the surface to great effect. in this great how-to video from tightline productions, tim flagler, crackleback variations, crackleback variations, renegade fly, ed story crackleback, holographic green crackleback.
f-c crackleback dry woolly – developed by ed story in the mid 1950’s. the fly and the method(s) to fish it was an instant success. now fished the crackleback is an effective pattern that can be fished as a dry fly or a wet fly. tying it as a dry fly, used the dry fly hooks tmc100 or tmc101. the crackleback is a truely amazing fly ! there are unlimited variations in both the body materials from the original turkey flats to dubbing, how to tie a ruby midge, jq streamer, p&p midge, ruby 2 midge.
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