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Cruncher

 
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Loren

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:28 pm    Post subject: Cruncher Reply with quote

Another fine UK stillwater pattern this is! "Crunchers" are often incorrectly referred to as "hackled pheasant tails" or something similar. Similar may be a better term, at least for the standard dressing I have shown, but I think of the Cruncher more along the lines of a Woollybugger or Booby where variation is the accepted norm.

Crunchers are small hackled patterns tied to be fish as a top of middle dropper. This recipe is but one that I've seen and I'm not one hundred percent sure what exactly makes a cruncher a cruncher and not some other pattern. My educated guess is that the defining features include the sparse tail and hackle, usually furnace, and a pronounced thorax to keep the hackles away from the body. I suspect that the pattern I have shown is probably the original, or close to it, and variations have sloughed off it.

No matter, it catches. Good thing trout aren't as fussy about names as we are! I prefer this pattern on the top dropper in a ripple or on the middle, below a bob fly, on a good wind. For brownies I will use it as shown, but when rainbows are around I will use some flashier variants, especially those with red in them. Your mileage may vary! It is a soundly constructed pattern, heavy with triggers but not in an over bearing way so as to put the fish, or the tier,off.

MATERIALS

Hook: Knapek W (#8-#12)
Thread: Black, Fluor. Red for Head
Tail: Furnace Hackle Fibers
Rib: Fine Gold Wire
Abdomen: PT Fibers
Thorax: Peacock
Hackle: Furnace (2 wraps)



Place hook firmly in your vise.



Lay a base of thread, ending at the rear.



Select a brown furnace hackle and separate-out a few barbs.



Remove them so that the tips are even and measure them to be equal to the length of the hook.



Tie them in at the rear. Secure the butts to the middle of the shank-this places your thread in position to attach the wire.



Find some fine gold wire and remove a section.



Secure it to the far side of the hook and bind it to the rear.



From a cock pheasant tail, select three fibers.



Bind them by the tips to the hook and secure them back to the tail. Advance your thread forward to the 1/4 mark.



Wrap the PT fibers forward, if you use a rotary vise please try the rotary feature here as it makes life so much easier and you will find that the PT fibers twist on themselves as you crank. Wrap to the tying thread and secure.



Select a few peacock herls and roughly align the tips.



Lop-off the top inch or so where the herls are most likely to break.



Secure ahead of the PT body.



Wrap to just behind the eye and secure.



Counter-rib the entire body with the gold wire in open and even turns.



Select another furnace hackle whose barbs are 2-times the hook's gap in length. Remove the basal fuzz and leave a short section of stem naked.
Note that for the tail and hackle I have elected to use a rooster feather as opposed to the original hen dressing. My selection is personal. In these situations I feel that the wispy collar will still move plenty, yet the stiffer barbs will push more water. I also prefer the natural sheen of a rooster feather over a hen in many stillwater applications.



Secure the feather by the naked portion of the stem just behind the eye.



Make two wraps and tie-off.



Pull everything back to expose the head region.



Wrap a small neat head, with a few turns back over the hackle to force them slightly to the rear.



Whip finish.



I like to come over the black head with a fluorescent red thread creating a "hot spot" that seems to make this pattern, and many others, even more effective.
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Last edited by Loren on Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chris
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my favourite point flies Smile
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fossil-fish
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loren,
Great step-by step, good fly. I have used it with the peacock making up the whole body. Caught well. Also have tied one with pheasant tail and pearl tinsel at the thorax instead of the peacock. Have not tried that one yet but it has pinfry written all over it.
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Martha
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy Thank you for that Loren, in most of my casts I have to have one of those, great fly and by the way I love the photography technique , I have been trying for years to take good pictures of flies without any success! Sad
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shootinfishin
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My favourite spider pattern! Very Happy

Itie more variants of the humble cruncher than any other fly and only when forced to fish single fly do I not have one in use.
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PitsfordPirate
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice SBS on a varient of one of my 'go to' patterns.

Why is it however I rarely hear of anyone tying with the original 'Greenwell Hen' hackle?

The Pirate.
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Loren

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PitsfordPirate wrote:
Nice SBS on a varient of one of my 'go to' patterns.


Could you provide the original recipe as you know it?

PitsfordPirate wrote:
Why is it however I rarely hear of anyone tying with the original 'Greenwell Hen' hackle?

The Pirate.


In the US we refer to Greenwell hackle as furnace or badger. Furnace is generally referred to when discussing hackles with a black center and brown tips; while badger has a black center and cream tips (or white in the case of a silver badger). Obviously both can have degrees of light or dark.

I was under the impression that the most original Greenwell used a feather with brown tips as opposed to cream tips. Was I wrong? I'd love to make the text as correct as I can.

My preference of cock versus hen lies simply in my preference of it and that most UK stillwater patterns seem to use cock over hen so I assume there was a productivity reason.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loren.
Your dressing is a cruncher as I know it.
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PitsfordPirate
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The original version uses a Greenwell HEN head hackle and tail, never cock of any kind, whether Badger, Furnace or whatever.
All due respect, can never be a Cruncher if cock hackle is used, that is simply a varient. In fact the name Cruncher should never actually come into it, that's an insult of sorts to the original Cruncher.

Hen is used over cock because of its superior movement qualities. The Cruncher is a stillwater nymph/wet/spider pattern, not a dry. I would also go as far as saying that it is quite incorrect to suggest that cock is used more extensively over hen in UK stillwater patterns, quite the opposite in fact.

Using Hen Badger is a bit light on the tips but fine I suppose, the slightly darker tipped Hen Furnace is a bit better and again fine I suppose, Hen Greenwell is perfect and quite correct if tying the original.

Also, original Cruncher doesn't have a red head obviously.

I really don't care what people use to tie their patterns, however what I do like to see is people being accurate, using the correct terms and materials if referring to a specific named pattern, otherwise be clear and ensure the word 'varient' is used/inserted. If we don't do so, then beginners and people like FF get confused and start believing certain varients are in fact the original patterns.

Liked your tying as I said Loren but it's not quite a Cruncher am afraid, its a varient. Apologies if I appear pedantic.

Pip pip!

The Pirate Wink
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Last edited by PitsfordPirate on Sat Feb 23, 2008 11:36 pm; edited 12 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Loren

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pirate,

Thank-you for the info. I made an edit to reflect this discussion.

I do feel the dressing I illustrated was enough like a cruncher to maintain the name--not enough unlike it to give it another. But I appreciate your desire to keep the lineage in tact!

I will say this: when I create and publish a pattern I fully expect and encourage any users to play with it. Names are for communication. I'd hardy consider the gender of a bird feather used to cause reclassification. Material subsititution is an accepted practice as it should be so that all tyers may do their best to imitate an imitation.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PitsfordPirate wrote:
.

I really don't care what people use to tie their patterns, however what I do like to see is people being accurate, using the correct terms and materials if referring to a specific named pattern, otherwise be clear and ensure the word 'varient' is used/inserted. If we don't do so, then beginners and people like FF get confused and start believing certain varients are in fact the original patterns.

Liked your tying as I said Loren but it's not quite a Cruncher am afraid, its a varient. Apologies if I appear pedantic.

Pip pip!

The Pirate Wink


Ooops, sorry PP
Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed

What I really meant to say, of course, was--

Loren,
Your dressing is a cruncher variant as I know it.

Very Happy Very Happy
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dayhut

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I first saw the "Cruncher" touted as a bluegill/panfish fly. I dont now recall where that was, but I tried tha pattern and really like the result. Great fly and beautiful job tying.
Thanks!
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Appleman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I like the step by steps shown here....It represents how you tie a Cruncher. The ingredients aside, it's a neat looking pattern and is fairly well put together.

What I always find interesting is the two types of anglers represented here......I often wonder if purists sit on an authentic pattern with the 'right' ingredients struggling while the trail blazers with the 'outrageous' imitations empty the lake.

Fly tying materials and techniques evolve constantly and I'm on the side of the coin that embraces change and creativity.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Cheers,


Tim
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I first came across the cruncher in the book by the two who came up with the pattern. Martin Cairncross & John Dawson in Trout Fishing an Experts Approach (probably the best how to book on the market for trout fishing).
On page 163 they say “we invented this fly in an attempt to improve on the pheasant tail".

For the body the lightest cock pheasant centre tail.
A full Greenwell hen hackle tied in such a way as to produce a kick, forcing the base of the hackle to stand at almost right angle to the hook by butting up to the thorax.
The long tail of honey cock hackle represents a shuck
A fine silver wire rib.
The peacock herl thorax needs to be slightly bulky.

There is a lot more to read and doing so makes one realise how much thought went into this and other flies, so I would encourage you to track down the book.
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