Effective Flies – Gary’s Cruncher

For spring, summer, and autumn fishing on lakes, particularly when mayfly are about, Craig suggests adding this fly to your list. 

I have always liked fishing cruncher-style flies. They are extremely versatile, robust, and simple to tie. Everything an effective fly should be!

Last season on Little Pine Lagoon, I was fishing with fellow Commonwealth Fly Fishing Team member Gary Rapley. Gary had a blinder slowly fishing a team of nymphs. The point fly was doing most of the damage. Gary kindly gave me one, and this fly became my most effective nymph on Tassie’s highland lakes last season. It has also worked well for me on the lakes around Ballarat and at Millbrook Lakes.

A perfect day for Gary’s Cruncher at Lake Wendouree.

I fish it on the point on a Loch-style cast, or on the middle or top dropper when fishing a team of nymphs. Gary’s Cruncher, and many other cruncher patterns, are best fished moving rather than stationary, as the front hackle pulsates around the body of the fly, adding to the illusion of life. All forms of retrieves can work, varying from slow to fast. Roly poly, figure-eight and stripped retrieves all work. As always, vary your retrieve until you find what the fish want.

Tying materials

Hook – Wet fly hook, size 12-14

Thread – 8/0 claret

Tail – Brown cock hackle.

Body – Pheasant tail dyed claret.

Rib – Fine copper wire

Thorax – Spectra Dub No 45 & 46, mixed together.

Hackle – Brown hen hackle.

Tying notes

  1. Tie In a clump of cock fibres for the tail, which should be two-thirds the length of the hook shank.
  2. Next, tie in the copper wire, ensuring the materials are tied to the hook shank smoothly. No lumps and bumps, as they will affect the look of the finished fly.
  3. Tie in approximately 6 strands of pheasant tail by the tips, winding forward to create a smooth, slightly tapered body.
  4. Then wind through in the opposite direction 5 turns of the copper wire. This creates the segmentation of the body and protects the pheasant tail.
  5. Dub in a compact thorax of Spectra Dub.
  6. Tie by the tip three turns of hen hackle. The hackle length should not exceed the length of the body of the fly.
  7. Whip finish, and you have a very effective fly.