The Crack- Back Aero PMD

Curtis Fry - May, 2015

My first exposure to "crack back" style flies came about mostly by observation of thenaturals I was seeing in the local tailwaters I fished. As I'll get into a bit later here, when I ultimately dialed in the pattern, I remember a couple of times fishing a stretch of productive PMD water that ran along side a highway that was under construction. For the few days my fishing time coincided with the lunch break of the construction workers, I entertained them with sight-fishing to PMD-munching brown trout. But more importantly, I found a pattern that would end up a staple in the PMD section of my box. Pale Morning Duns, or PMD's, are sometimes an overlooked bug on a lot of rivers I've fished, but it's still a good idea to have a variety of imitations for these common and important mayflies. Not only do they bring a lot of fish to the surface at times, but unlike the Baetis hatch, my experience early on showed me that trout often focus more on the emerging insects which turned my focus more towards a good variety of emergers and soft hackles. In fact, one of my favorite PMD patterns is a floss bodied soft hackle pattern a friend of mine ties. Between that and seeing how distinct the naturals showed their bright yellow bodies as the wing-case would begin to split open, I worked to come up with a good material to use for the "crack". I went through almost any yellow or chartreuse material you can imagine. Most would lose their color brightness when wet. I ultimately settled on some antron but more recently converted my updated Aero-Baetis style mayfly nymph into this crack back we have today. The key here is that with Baetis or PMD nymphs and emergers you need to keep the body slim and the taper consistent with the natural. And because I'm a big believer in crack-back style emergers, I've taken that concept and applied it to this pattern, albeit a bit differently than others you might have seen. Which probably means it won't work and you'll waste your time tying this horrible pattern.

Material List
  • Hook: Fulling Mill 5115 Heavyweight Grub Hook Barbless, Black Nickel - 16
  • Bead: Fulling Mill Tungsten Beads - Black - 2.4mm
  • Thread: 8/0 UNI-Thread Waxed Midge - Dark Brown
  • Tail /Legs: Premium Partridge Feathers - Brown
  • Body: Veevus Holographic Tinsel - Brown - Medium
  • Ribbing: UTC Ultra Wire - Brown - Small
  • Wing Case: Thin Skin - Mottled, Bustard Natural
  • Crack: Gulff Ambulance Resin 15 ml - Fl. Yellow
Materials & Alternate Materials Listed Below
UTC Ultra Wire
UTC Ultra Wire

UTC Ultra Wire - Small

$1.75
Veevus Holographic Tinsel
Veevus Holographic Tinsel

Veevus Holographic Tinsel

$3.99
8/0 UNI-Thread Waxed Midge
8/0 UNI-Thread Waxed Midge
8/0 UNI-Thread Waxed Midge

8/0 UNI-Thread Waxed Midge

$3.25
Thin Skin
Thin Skin
Thin Skin
Thin Skin
Thin Skin
Thin Skin

Thin Skin

$2.45
Fulling Mill 5115 Heavyweight Grub Hook Barbless, Black Nickel
Fulling Mill 5115 Heavyweight Grub Hook Barbless, Black Nickel

Fulling Mill 5115 Heavyweight Grub Hook Barbless, Black Nickel

$12.95
Gulff Ambulance Resin 15 ml
Gulff Ambulance Resin 15 ml

Gulff Ambulance Resin 15 ml

$15.99
Premium Partridge Feathers
Premium Partridge Feathers

Premium Partridge Feathers

$5.99
Fulling Mill Tungsten Beads
Fulling Mill Tungsten Beads

Fulling Mill Tungsten Beads

$7.00