Fishing The Daddy Long Legs

The Fishtec office has been invaded by huge, gangly legged flying creatures. In fact, you could call it an infestation!

This is a great sign for fly fishermen of course. The arrival of the daddy long legs means autumn is here, and the fishing can only get better. And this year, according to a BBC report we could be looking at a record 200 billion daddy long legs emerging in the UK this autumn.

The daddy long legs

The daddy long legs.

The annual daddy long legs hatch is one of our favourite fishing events on the fly angling calendar – when blown on the water the fish simply love them. Big, and easy to imitate it is an anglers dream to go fishing and find every trout in the lake smashing daddies off the top.

What are they?

The daddy long legs or crane fly is a large, harmless insect and a member of the true fly family (diptera)  It hatches from a larval form, called a leatherjacket in autumn, especially in warm weather followed by rain. These larva prefer to live in pasture land, lawns and particularity love damp, soft ground which is why you find so many emerging near reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

Need flies?

Getting the right ones is crucial. If you don’t have any big, bushy patterns during a daddy fall, you will miss out! The daddy long legs fly pack by Fulling Mill has every variant you will ever need. Make sure you pick up a set, because if news reports are to be believed the autumn daddy sport is going to be outstanding.

A Fulling Mill daddy pattern

A Fulling Mill daddy pattern.

We also stock individual daddy long leg flies by highland flies.

How to fish them?

Fishing daddy long legs is simplicity itself. We like to fish a team of 2 flies. Use tippet material that is fairly strong – the takes can be savage! Also, a thicker tippet helps present the big fly better and reduces leader twist. About 5 to 8lb BS co-polymer is ideal.

On the bank, pick a spot with the wind blowing onto the water. Here the daddies will hit the water first. Look for the line between calm and ruffled water – it is there fish will often cruise, looking to intercept these long legged morsels as soon as they are blown on. Gink up your flies, then simply cast out and let them drift round with the wind.

If you are fishing from a drifting boat, cast and let them sit for 20 seconds or so – then give them a quick twitch and let them sit for another 20 seconds. Then skate them back before lifting off. Sometimes a little bit of movement can act as a trigger. By repeatedly covering fresh water with shorter quick casts you will maximize your chances.