The Gossamer Crane Fly Pattern ~ Clint Bova

 Photos: Clint Bova
The adult stage of the Cranefly has long been overlooked by the fly fishing world. A pretty bold statement but very true. Crack open any fly fishing catalogue and you will be hard pressed to find an adult stage imitation. As for the larval and nymph stage the range of flys are far more significant. Around the world the Cranefly has a variety of eclectic names and is a significant part of a trouts diet in certain times of the spring and summer. Trout typically “smack” craneflys on the surface for a lack of a better word. It is a hardy morsel of protein and like ants trout will move out of their comfort zone for this insect readily. If you were to connect lines directly from the tips of all six legs splayed it would form a perfect eclipse. That being said the legs are a very important aspect when considering the geometry of your pattern. Craneflys stuck in the surface film splay much like a spider would. The following photos are a result of about a 15 year fascination I’ve had with this fly. Getting the profile, proportion, and dialing in the hook type took a lot of exploration and trial and error. I hope you try it sometime you may be surprised what kind of explosive takes it will evoke.

Gossamer Crane Fly:
Thread: Veevus 14/0 Tan or rust
Hook: Kamasan B160 Short Shank Hook
Abdomen: Micro Chenille dyed tan
Thorax: Beaver Belly dyed rust or tan
Legs: double knotted pheasant tail dyed tan yellow (x6)
Wings: Hen Tips dyed tan
Hackle: Barred Ginger hackle

Tying this fly is much like tying a hen wing spinner but with legs and an extended body.
Quick notes: tie in micro chenille and singe tip | dub in thorax | tie in double knotted legs just in front of thorax | tie in hen tip wings laying them flat and splayed not delta wing style you want to mimic the fluttering insect trying to get out of the surface film not a crane fly at rest | dub in x pattern in front and behind to fix wing | tie in barred ginger hackle behind and in front of hen wings in x pattern


Clint's Black Grass Wasp

 A client of mine asked me to tie up a dozen Grass Wasps for him before traveling to the Albany River in Ontario. He wanted to fish the wasps near steep fast stream banks and in some broken water so wanted extra flotation and profile. Using soft hackle in tandem with a conventional criss-cross hackle collar will add great buoyancy to this fly when fishing faster water. The added barbell eyes create a distinct profile from below. Using underwing material such as Aero Wing Dry Fly will also help keep the fly in the surface film at the proper angle.

 Barbell eyes created with 20lb singed mono with 2-3 coats of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails (Extreme) Black Out. Abdomens created with thread teardrop profile then 2-3 coats of  Sally Hansen Hard as Nails (Extreme) Black Out. Unlike most UV Resins available you cannot beat nitrocellulose (cellulose nitrate). Nitrocellulose is a highly combustible material that is also used in making dynamite. It would take a trout a mouthful of dynamite to destroy most of my fly's coated with SH product. Once fully dry this product promises its namesake, hard as nails! That being said you need to add a bit more flotation to your fly even though the TMC 212Y is a great floating hook. Black Aero Wing Dry Fly fibers are used as an underwing material which creates great buoyancy for faster water.

 Thread: Veevus 14/0
Hook: TMC 212Y sizes #11-#15
Eyes: 20lb. mono singed and coated with Sally Hansen Extreme Hard as Nails (Black Out)
Abdomen: Teardrop thread bump accentuated with 2-3 coats of SH
Thorax: Beaver Belly
Legs: Knotted pheasant tail dyed black
Underwing: Aero Wing Dry Fly black (Tiemco)
Hackle: Hen and conventional hackle wrapped criss-cross around thorax around 5-6 turns is all that is needed
Wings: Hen tips dyed black


The Gossamer Comparadun

 The Gossamer Comparadun photos Clint Bova
Shown above #18-22 Comparaduns using TMC 531 hooks

The basic design of the Comparadun is very simple. The difficulty people have tying it stems from proportion and the bulk of materials added to the hook. This is a thorax fly by this I mean it is meant to sit very low in the water not on its tippy toes. Its thorax needs to be in the surface film for it to imitate the natural insect. Using a treated dubbing such as Beaver Belly will ensure proper floatation for a longer period of time. Using coastal deer hair meant for comparadun flies is always preferable as well. The flies shown above are #18's on TMC 531 wide gape hooks. The typical comparadun uses only deer hair for its wing profile but I include a couple of turns of medium or light dun hackle to imitate the splaying legs in the surface film which the insect is prone to simply because it is desperately trying to escape from the water. The result of this simple combination of materials is you get a longer floating comparadun with a more realistic silhouette.

Thread: Veevus 16/0 Medium dun
Tail: Coq de Leon Medium Dun
Body: Medium dun Beaver Belly
 Wing: Coastal Deer Hair
(length of shank only not including hook eye)

 Hackle: Medium or light dun
 Note: Cut V below fly on last three turns of hackle

This is a simple fly to tie and is essential for any flybox all season. The colors may vary from BWO colors to a PMD or PED color way. Be creative and even try a really dark pattern using a trailing shuck of Zelon, Antron, or poly yarn.
~thanks for letting me share ~ Clint