Warmwater Fly of the month: August, 2005 - Mary's Magic Cricket

Tying Mary's Magic Cricket

#8 Mary's MagicCricket

(Tied By Mary Kuss)

Mary's Cricket
My Magic Cricket, tied in basically the same way as my Hopper pattern but with a different shape and color of foam body and different colors for the underbody, legs, wing and thorax. I actually came up with five patterns in this series: the field cricket (black, size 10 for warmwater, size 12 for trout), hopper (yellow and/or tan, legs yellow, size 8 or 10), the red-legged hopper (same as hopper but red legs rather than yellow), snowy tree cricket (size 12, all tan), and katydid (size 8, all green).

Mary Kuss
Mary and Bob, Mary's mother Jeanette, and their.two Brittanies (bird dogs) Samantha and Jennie live in a cozy home where one room is devoted to the tying of flies. It's an amazing array of cascading shoe boxes stuffed with feathers, fur, and assorted synthetic fluff, a fly tying table with all its attendant paraphernalia, a small pellet gun, several rods and their cases, sundry plaques, charts, awards, articles and photos lining the Walls along with a sample of Mary's wood carving.

Mary also enjoys doing counted cross stitch, hunting with her dogs for pheasant and quail, and rock gardening. She has worked for The Sporting Gentleman Fly shop in Media, PA for the past twenty years and currently gives professional instruction in fly fishing and fly tying, as well as stream orientation and guide service. Mary has been a member of three different Trout Unlimited chapters, including long stints as editor of the Delco-Manning Chapter newsletter.

Since most of her 29 years of fly fishing has been done in the company of male fly fishers, Mary has ample basis for comparison between that experience and what it's been like to fish in the company of women. "I've heard it said that men are generally more goal oriented, and women more process oriented." She says. "I think that's true in most cases. When men say they don't care if they catch fish, it just doesn't quite ring true. But when women say it, I get the sense that they really mean it."

Favorite place to fish overall: Potter County, PA Most frustrating place to fish: The Letort Spring Run in central PA. Biggest fish ever: a 30-inch plus carp on the fly rod from the Brandywine Creek, Chester County, PA




Hook: Tiemco 101 #10.
Thread: Balck 3/0 (Monocord)
Legs: Black Flex-Floss
Underbody: Black Dubbing
Abdomen: #6,8 or 10 Balck Spider Body
Wing: Black Deer Hair
Thorax: Stacked & Spun Natural Deer Hair

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Step 1: Lay a foundation of thread right behind the eye of the hook with the length being even with the point of the hook.

Step 2: Apply some Flex Cement to the back 2/3 of the hook shank that the thread base is on.

Step 3: Pinch dub enough black dubbing to cover about 2/3 of the hook shank that the thread base is on. (for the loop method see July 2003, Mary's Hopper)

Step 4: Move the thread to about 2/3 of the hook shank that the thread base is on.

Step 5: Prepare the spider body by nipping a small wedge out of the underside at the front edge of the body. This will help prevent the body from cocking up at an angle, allowing it to lie flatter over the hook shank

Step 6: Your snipped out body should look like the pricture on the far right.

Step 7: (Optional) Apply a little Zap-A-Gap to the end of the dubbing where the body will lay on top of.

Step 8: Take the working thread back two turns over the dubbed body so that the tie-down point for the spider body is over the front edge of the dubbing. Secure the spider body to the hook, making soft turns of thread at first to avoid cutting the foam with the tying thread, then enough tight turns to secure the spider body well and form a short "neck."

Step 9:The spider body postioned on the hook.

Step 10: Cut two 4-inch lengths of Flex-Floss.

Step 11: Fold a strand of FlexiFloss over the tying thread with concave sides opposing. Holding the tips of the Flexifloss strand in the off hand and under slight tension against the working thread, make a thread wrap around the hook, using the thread to guide the strand into place on the far side of the hook on the "neck", against the front edge of the spider body. This should result in the rear kicker leg curving gently inward behind the hook. Make several thread wraps to secure well.

Step 12: Repeat the process on the near side of the hook with the other strand of FlexiFloss. The curvature should mirror that of the leg on the off side of the hook. Again, secure well with thread wraps

Step 13: Cut a small clump of deer hair.

Step 14:Clean and even the tips. (This clump of hair will form the wing).


Step 15: The length of the deer hair should be about the length of the spider body.

Step 16: Put a drop of tying cement on the "neck" at the front of the spider body, and tie the deer hair in at that point, with the tips extending just past the end of the spider body. Do not allow the hair to spin. The thread wraps securing the hair clump should align with the tie-in point of the Flex-Floss legs, between the back facing and forward facing leg strands.

Step 17: Gather the butt ends of the deer hair clump above the hook (being careful not to include the legs!) and shear off leaving about 1/4 inch on the hook. This will form the upper surface of the thorax. Save the sheared-off ends for the next step. Invert the hook in the vice and put a drop of tying cement on the underside of the "neck." Tie in the hair ends from Step 18 to cover up the underside of the "neck." Again, the thread wraps should fall between the front and rear legs. Hair should flare but not spin

Step 18: Advance the tying thread ahead of the deer hair and front legs and IF you have strong nails, push the front legs back and compact the deer hair slightly.


Step 19:OR use a "Brassie" or other hair packer to push the front legs back and compact the deer hair slightly.

Step 20: Clean and trim a small bunch of deer hair.

Step 21: Trim off the tips of the deers hair. (This will help you so that you can keep the collar tips from spun deer hair.)

Step 22:Spin the deer hair in front of the previous work to fill out the hook shank to the eye. Compact slightly.

Step 23:Your hopper should look like the one of the left picture now.

Step 24: If necessary to clear the hook eye.

Step 25: Whip-finish and lacquer thread head.

Step 26: (A rotary vice is very helpful in trimming the deer hair.) Invert hook in vice, use off hand to pull the FlexiFloss legs down out of the way, then shear the hair on the bottom of the thorax flat and close to the hook

Step 27: Return hook to upright position, again pull the legs down out of the way, and trim upper thorax surface to a slightly rounded shape. Finally, trim the sides of the thorax to a slightly rounded profile, again pulling the legs to the opposite side to avoid accidentally cutting them. (if the front legs do get amputated during the trimming process, by the way, the fly is still quite usable).

Step 28:Use a needle or a toothpick to work a drop of thin Dave's Flexament into both the upper and lower surface of the thorax--this will disappear when dry and will greatly increase durability

Step 29: Pull the two hind legs to the rear and cut them together to desired length. I like the kicker legs to extend about a hook length past the end of the body. Pull the front legs forward and trim to about half a hook length.

Step 30: Finished pattern side view.

Step 31: Finished pattern front view.