This is the imitation that I find particularly effective for cranefly adults. It’s n elk hair skater. There’s not much to it, but then again, there’s not much to a cranefly adult, either. The chief design element is the super-sized hackle made from very stiff elk hair. It’s a quick fly to tie, and it works very well when the adult craneflies are dancing along streamside grasses, laying eggs.
I like a strong wire hook in a size 10, 1X long. Wrap the shank with thread and then wrap forward to the center point of the shank.
Select a clump of elk hair and trim the clump to length. Cut the butt ends square. Position on the top of the shank and just catch the trimmed butt ends with the thread.
Pull the thread tight to spring the butt ends of the hair while simultaneously pushing the hair down and around the shank.
Retain your hold on the hair so it doesn't flare. Slide your grip slowly rearward and spiral the thread to the back of the shank. Wrap the hair tightly at the rear of the shank and then spiral the thread forward. Form a spinning loop just ahead of the body.
Hang a spinning tool onto the loo.p Select a clump of elk hair, cut it ti the desired length of the hackle, and insert it into the loop. Close the thread of the loop tightly. Allow the butt ends of the hair to stick out about 1/8 of and inch.
Spread the hair out uniformly over the top couple inches of the loop.
Spin the loop to form the hackle. To do this, tightly pinch the thread just below the hair. Spin the thread very tight while still pinching it tightly. Pull down on the spinning tool and let go of the loop. The hair will instantaneously spin to form the hackle.
Wrap the hackle tightly. After each wrap, stroke the hair back so that it is not trapped by the subsequent wrap. Stop occasionally and compress the hair back toward the body (much as one compresses the hair of a muddler head).
Stroke the hackle forward. Coat the body with flexible head celemt. Place several drops of flexible head cement into the base of the hackle. The cement will hold the fibers nicely in place.
The big elk hair hackle allows the imitation to be danced over the surface with a most enticing action.