Mil Spec Cripple - Mayfly Pattern

Mayflies are Cheeseburgers*

*If you listen to Pink Floyd while reading this post it will make more sense.

Mil-Spec Baetis Cripple
 Imagine if you had an addiction to cheeseburgers.  Any time cheeseburgers were available you went out of your way to eat as many as possible, and not only are you addicted to cheeseburgers, but everyone around you was also addicted to cheeseburgers - I know, it sounds like a Fly Fish Food staff meeting.  (Ok, I love writing this post so far...)  Now imagine that cheeseburgers grew legs and were only in a certain spot for a short period of time before running away from you.  You know what I'm thinking - chase the cheeseburgers with sprained ankles and torn ACLs.  Same delicious cheeseburger, less running around.  Mayflies are cheeseburgers for trout.

Now that you have imagined cheeseburgers with tangible limbs, we'll talk a little bit about mayflies and the laziness of trout.  Trout, much like my children, work as little as possible in order to get food, and if there is a bug in the water that is easier to eat than the others they are all over it.  All they care about is caloric intake.  Without diving too far down the entomology rabbit hole, we'll just say that some mayflies die before they are ever able to fully mature.  They are void of their nymphal shuck at this point, but their wings and tails are all wadded up in clumps of delicious trout cheeseburger.  Not only do they have kind of a distinct footprint on the water (jacked up wings and tails), they don't move at all because they are dead, or otherwise incapacitated to the point where they don't move.  Had these patterns been named in our day and age with all the political correctness, they would have been called something other than "cripples," but thanks to our fly fishing forefathers, we have cripple patterns. 

Long story short...  Mayflies die on the surface.  Mayflies that die in the surface film look tasty to trout.  Trout proceed to eat tasty jacked up mayflies that are stuck in the surface.  Tie mayflies that look all jacked up so that lazy fish will eat them.  Live long.  Prosper.

A few notes on this fly...  I have been messing with body types for mayflies quite a bit, and I realized that I could get a body to look just like a nice quill or biot simply by using flat thread and markers.  This body style was so realistic and so easy to adapt to different bugs that I called it the Mil-Spec body one day at the shop.  The name kind of stuck.  In addition to this, the trigger point international fibers are treated with floatant (even though I use Lochsa on this pattern), and they also have great sheen on the water.  It's been one of my go-to materials lately.


**Before you watch this video, it's worth noting that the flies I have done with Chartpak markers tend to bleed color out.  I have had better luck with sharpies and prismacolors.

Material List

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Hook: Fulling Mill 35050 Ultimate Dry Fly Hook, Barbless - 18     
Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier - Olive     
Tail / Wings: EP Trigger Point Int'l Fibers - Dark Dun     
Wing Case: Nature's Spirit CDC - Dark Gray Dun     
Thorax: Super Fine Dry Fly Dubbing - BWO     

Other tools from the tutorial:
Tiemco TMC Adjustable Magnetic Bobbin     
Loon Ergo All Purpose Scissors - 4"     
Marc Petitjean Whip Finisher