by Charlotte Cooper

Crane fly or daddy-long-legs patterns could be the key to good trout catches this month - F4S's resident fly-fishing expert Bob Goble tells us....

We have had a strange few months weather-wise, but hopefully September will be more settled as we go into autumn.

August brought welcome rain for our lakes and rivers but when the sun was up, on some days it was a little unbearable. And what of the record-breaking temperatures of late July? Phew!

In September the daylight hours reduce as we move further away from the sun and we have cooler nights but pleasant daylight hours.

Our lakes and rivers will start recovering from low water conditions and as oxygen levels rise the fish, especially trout, become more interested in eating and we can take advantage of that.

Damsel nymph flies will be a good bet, as well as hare’s ear, with or without a gold bead at the head, and lures will start to play their part, especially the cat’s whisker, which is a firm favourite with many anglers.

But observe what is happening on the water around you. There could be a hatch of buzzers and you will see the fish topping. Or you may see smaller fish like roach or rudd skittering and flying out of the water - this is a good indicator that larger fish are on the chase. They will smash into the shoals, after herding them and pick them off one by one. That’s the time to get your lure into this mayhem, it could be that fish of a lifetime!

You will have noticed several pictures of the crane fly or daddy-long-legs with this feature.

At this time of year, you will see larger crane flies after seeing smaller versions throughout the summer months, and one fly that can be successful is the smaller hopper family. But saying this, you can fish daddys throughout the year.

The crane fly larvae, known as the leather jacket, lives in soil, leaf litter or mud around ponds, lakes and streams. It can be a real pest in the garden, if it gets under the lawn or in root crops.

If the conditions are right, with the wind (if any) blowing onto the water’s surface, crane flies are easy pickings for the trout. I have yet to try one on the carp, but I’m sure it will work.

Once airborne they are very cumbersome fliers, with their gangling legs at the mercy of the wind.

I have had some great days fishing with crane flies, especially at Bewl Water, where you can always find a bank with the wind blowing onto the water.

It can be like the mayfly season, with fallen daddys getting stuck in the meniscus or being drowned and becoming a ready meal for the trout’s taking.

Fishing the daddy is very simple. Use a 9-foot rod or 9-and-a-half-foot rod, for a 6-7 weight with accompanied fly line, a tapered leader of around 7-8 Ibs BS, to a length of 10-12 feet then add your artificial, 10-8 hook size.

It is advisable to use a pattern with folded wings as you may experience a lot of twisting if you use a fly with outstretched wings.

Cast out your daddy and let it sit naturally on the water’s surface, drifting around with any breeze. Make sure you don’t have too much slack line between your rod tip and fly. When the fish takes the fly it can be explosive but don’t be in a hurry to lift into the fish. Wait for the line to move then lift and fish on!

These patterns come in various sizes and colours. Some have bodies of foam to keep them up in the surface and can be deadly! You can also have them tied with gold beads at the head to fish a little deeper and they do work - a slow retrieve is all that is needed.

All these patterns can be purchased at good tackle shops that sell fly equipment and online. 

One last thing, if you would like me to write about something you have a problem with or would like an article from a particular angle, please contact myself ( or Barry from the informer. I am only too glad to help.

That’s all for now. Have fun, be safe. Bob G.

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