Deer hair daddy

Many daddy patterns are somewhat delicate and easily damaged, be it by fish, or even prolonged casting, and general ware and tare.  Here’s a pattern that show you how to make your daddy’s not only more resillient, but also with added float ability.


Tipulidae or Daddy long legs as they are more commonly known, are a familiar sight both on and off the water more or less the whole summer.  There are in fact several hundred species of daddy’s from just a couple of mm  to over 40mm long.  Although most species of daddy are terrestrial there are a few that are aquatic. Daddy’s are remarkably poor fliers and once airbourne are largely at the mercy of the wind and where it takes them, being forced to crash land on the water, blowing across the waters surface surface like tumble weed. Trailing their legs behind them, in some cases even making a bow wave as they blow and skate across the surface.  

The extended body method that is illustrated here is a good way of creating suitable sized bodies that can also represent other larger  bodied insects such as dragon flies, mayflies and of course daddy long legs, without using larger hooks, that will in turn introduce more weight, which is inaapropriate for patterns that are intended to float.  

As for the deer hair make sure that it is the best spinning hair from the winter coat. Dont just try the natural colours for the bodies of daddy’s try bright attractor colours such as bright green and yellow, these will make the difference when there are lots of daddy’s on the water and add an attractor element.

Deer hair daddy

Hook: Mustad C53SNP-BR # 12-6

Tying thread: Dyneema waxed with Veniards PFTW

Body: Spun and clipped deer hair (winter coat)

Legs: Pheasant tail fibers

Wing & Head: Spun and clipped deer hair



Secure your curved nymph / terrestrial hook in the vice.



Cover the hook shank with tying thread a little down into the bend.



At the tail of the fly make a dubbing loop. Its important that you make this loop with doubling your tying thread and not splitting it. The deer hair is quite dense and needs the strength of a double loop to spin it correctly! Wrap your tying thread out of the way behind the hook eye.



If you are using Dyneema or another gel spun thread, you will need to wax it. This will give better purchase on the deer hair when spun.



Place a length of deer hair, from the winter coat in a magic tool or a bull dog clip and cut off the hide. Place the hair in the dubbing loop.



The deer hair should have at least 1 cm. through the loop on the cut side.



Spin your dubbing loop until the deer hair becomes an even dubbing brush.



Wind on the deer hair brush as you would a regular hackle, making sure to brush the hair back with each turn. Tie off the dubbing loop about 1 cm. behind the hook eye.



Before you start trimming the deer hair brush out and trapped hairs with a stiff tooth brush.



Now make a few initial trimming cuts with the scissors too form the basic body shape.



Trim the remaining body hair.



With a pair of finer scissors trim the body to the required body shape. Now with a lighter singe the trimmed body, DO NOT BURN!



After singeing the clipped deer hair body will tighten and become very even.



Turn your fly up side down in the vice.



Tie the joints in six or seven pheasant tail fibers for the legs while still on the tail feather.



Place the finished legs in a magic clip and trim off the tail feather shaft.



For this dubbing loop you need only split your thread. Place the pheasant tail legs in the loop and spin the bobbin. The legs will flare in all directions.



Wind on the legs.



Cut a medium bunch of deer hair and remove the underfur. Stack the deer hair if wished in a hair stacker and tie in as a wing on top of the body as shown. Its important that you use enough deer hair in the wing too little and the fly will not fish the correct way, so more is better.



The buts of the deer hair will flare and form a muddler type head.



Turn the fly the correct way again in the vice, whip finish and trim the underside of the muddler head, taking care not to remove too much wing.



Once the head is trimmed you have your finished deer hair daddy. Taking care you can also singe the head of the fly as with the body. With a balanced wing and head this pattern will land up side down every time.



The fished deer hair daddy with a singed head. This pattern floats like a cork and can be stripped through the surface if wished like a muddler.

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5 thoughts on “Deer hair daddy

  1. This is really GREAT!
    Only one problem for me.
    How can I tie knots in the pheasant fibers?
    Can you sent me some pictures or anybody else how to do that?
    Nice when the fly is upside down.
    Greetings and tight lines