The Cripple Pattern, magic or what?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by GAT, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. You're some pretty smart guys. Maybe you can explain this to me. A Cripple Pattern is tied with the hair wing forward over the hook eye. Deer hair isn't exactly a light material. How on earth does the pattern defy physics and end up floating at a right angle to the surface just because the wing is tied forward?

    I question stuff like this. Just because you design a pattern believing it will do something magical doesn't mean it will. Look at my example:


    Okay, you cast the pattern onto the surface. Why on earth wouldn't it float parallel on the surface just like any other dry fly???? Why does the hook bend somehow sink so the fly is now at a right angle? It would take enough weight to overcome the weight of the deer hair to drag the hook point below the surface. Okay, so marabou is added at the body and the tail... big deal. Marabou does not absorb enough water to overcome the weight of the deer hair and hackle. Plus, you have the weight and drag of the tippet knot and tippet material and surface tension of the water to overcome for the butt of the fly to sink.

    How do I know this? Because I tried casting a "cripple" into my aquarium to see if the hair wing ends up pointing upward, it didn't. Instead, it floated on the surface as shown in the A position and did not flip upward and end up in the B position.

    Someone please explain to me how this pattern defies weight distribution and won't float like any other dry fly on the surface but instead at a right angle???

    Maybe if you added led wraps at the hook bend or a metal bead the pattern would float at a right angle but otherwise, I can't see how it will when tied as it is. Why does a steelhead skater pattern, with the hair fibers tied forward, float parallel to the surface and not flip into a right angle?

    Inquiring minds need to know. This sort of stuff keeps me awake at night. :)

  2. they dont float upright when its attached to a tippet, at least not for me,
  3. Neither do mine. That's why the premise of the pattern doesn't make sense. Attaching the tippet material with a knot to the eye adds weight and the tension created by the tippet also causes drag to prevent the pattern from floating at a right angle.
  4. Probably too much tail. This fly goes vertical every time. Much easier to tie also.
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  5. also the body material makes a difference, biots dont add any buoyancy, whereas buggy rabbit fur traps air bubbles and keeps the body from sinking.
  6. Yeah, see, I can understand that. The tied down eye, the use of CDC instead of deer hair, no hackle, a water absorbent body. That one makes sense.
  7. Larger sizes (14 and larger) kind of work, sometimes, but I've never had smaller one's work, they just don't have enough weight in there tails to break the surface tension. Even if I use almost no materials in the tail they still won't sink. But they still catch fish.
  8. Yes, I know they catch fish. But not while floating at a right angle.

    Over the years of tying flies I've found that sometimes folks assume how a pattern they tie will react in the water without actually trying them in a bathtub or someplace they can watch just exactly how the pattern floats or appears when wet. My friend and fellow outdoor writer, Dave Engerbretson, also tested the original "cripple" design in a small lake and it simply did not float at a right angle.

    So what does it really represent to the trout when it floats flat on the surface? Who knows? But for whatever reason, it does catch fish at a right angle or not.
  9. Almost all of the cripple mayflies I've seen are lying horizontal and look like crap, some don't even look like a mayfly. I have caught fish on one's that are actually sitting vertical, I'm sure they are taken more for emergers then cripples but
    only the trout know for sure.
  10. Use a non-slip loop. It allows the tail to drop and the fly fishes more effectively.
  11. What about this:


    In water:


    While this is a reverse style of tying, I seem to recall that someone tried to produce a hook that was for this...Wildwood or something like that.
  12. holy crap Big E, that fly is sweet!!
  13. GAT, just think of that fly you tied as a funny looking adams. Helluva good tie, fella.
  14. I love upside-down patterns, not only are they cool but they get a better strike to hookup ratio IMO
  15. Always remember what Lefty Krey said about fly fishing and Kansas City feedlots
  16. The upside down hooks are from Waterwisp

  17. I think most emergers (mayflies, midges) do emerge horizontally which is why the pattern works so very well, I'm sure the fish are taking them as emergers rather than cripples, for years I've used a chironomid pattern tied the same way but without the hackle that does tend to sit up vertIcally more often due to the sparse body but not always and it never seems to matter and from my experience the mayfly version is a sure killer during a mayfly hatch.
  18. I remember reading the first article published by the guys who came up with the Waterwisp style of tying flies. I wondered if that style of dry fly would ever catch on... it didn't.
  19. Gene, you will remember that it was Jim Green on Flyfish@ that introduced Waterwisp. He was an executive with the World Bank and the flies are tied in Kenya, Africa. He bought the rights to Waterwisp and marketed it.

    Jim sent me a sample of the flies and I found that for some reason, they didn't hook fish like regular ties.
  20. I tie my mayfly emergers to float horizontally in the surface film. Over the years my observations of emerging Callibaetis in particular would indicate that most of them float in a horizontal position as they begin to emerge from the nymphal shuck. Typically, I apply floatant to the entire fly, even the trailing shuck. My Callibaetis emerger (which I call the Chopaka Emerger; the pattern was shown to me by a friend who had it from "an old-timer at Lake Chopaka") started out with a wire rib, apparently in an effort to sink the hook shank and allow the fly to float vertically. Over the years I've made quite a few detail changes and one of the first was to get rid of the wire rib. Midges, on the other hand, do emerge vertically, pushing headfirst (actually shoulder-first, if an emerging midge can be said to have shoulders) through the surface film.

    Here are some pictures my Callibaetis Series patterns.
    2006_0406callibaetiseries0002.JPG 2006_0406callibaetiseries0007.JPG 2006_0406callibaetiseries0003.JPG

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