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This article on the Brun's Tipula first appeared in  Fly Fisherman magazine, Feb. 2002 issue.
The fly Brun's Tipula has been featured in the Norwegian magazine Alt om Fiske in the past.

Bruns Tipula How to tie a simple, imitative crane-fly adult that shivers and rides low on the water's surface.

by André Brun


The family Tipulidae has some of the largest insects of the Diptera. These insects, better known as crane flies or Daddy LongLegs, constitute hundreds of species in Scandinavia alone and are widespread throughout Europe and across the Atlantic in rivers such as the Bighorn, Beaverhead and Bow. André Brun c&r brown trout

Crane flies are of great importance to trout in lakes, ponds and some rivers, especially during midsummer when the adults are most abundant. As many fly fishers have experienced, the adult stage of these insects is the most exciting stage to imitate at this time of year.

It's generally most effective to use a crane-fly imitation when naturals such as spent egg-laying females are apparent on the water, but you may also use a crane fly successfully as an attractor pattern. Some anglers even use it as a good hatch breaker, especially in lakes and ponds.

My imitation lies flat on the water, shivering with its long, thin legs. It has no hackle to lift it above the surface, so it imitates a struggling, exhausted, or dying insect rather than an active egg layer. This is also a light fly because of the extended body and light hook, so it doesn't need hackle to stay afloat.

For legs I use a great rubber material - Micro round rubber - but almost any small diameter, flexible rubber will work. Because these round rubber strands are so thin, they almost seem to have a built-in action. Just imagine these long legs spread around the fly on the water - they create an aura of movement and make the fly shiver like a struggling insect.

Since the fly imitates a dead or dying crane fly lying flat on the surface, I usually fish it with a normal dead-drift. Occasionally I give it a small twitch, just before the fly enters the trout's window. This way the trout will not see the twitch itself - only the vibrations around the fly and in the legs as the fly comes drifting into view.

This fly uses a quick and simple extended body. I first used this technique on this fly, but with some small adaptions it can also be used as an extension on large dun and spent spinner imitations. The technique produces a flexible and light abdomen, and you can easily switch dubbing material for different colors and texture. The body colors of the Tipulidae are often gray-brown to light brown, but use any color to match particular species or your favorite general body color.

Brun's Tipula featured in Fly Fisherman (above) and Alt om Fiske (below). 


Brun's Tipula

Hook : Mustad R48, # 12 or equivalent
Thread : UNI 8/0, tan
Body : Gray-brown or light brown Fly-Rite (#20)/ Thick spun thread as a cord.
Wings : Cree hackle tips
Wing case : A slice of brown Polycelon (or equivalent closed cell foam)
Legs : Gray brown Micro Round Rubber etc. 
(any small-diameter, flexible rubber will do).
Thorax : Same as abdomen.

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Simple and fast: 
As a cord for the extended body, I use a spun and relatively thick synthetic thread (3/0 or thicker), which holds the dubbing as you spin it on. The thick thread will also give the fly a flexible abdomen that bends under pressure.

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Knot the thread and lock it in the vise as shown. Later, this knot will become the end of the abdomen. Together with a flexible cement such as Dave's Flexament or Fly-Tite, it will prevent the dubbing from slipping off the cord.

Apply a small amount of flexible cement to the thread. Use a dubbing needle, or your index finger and thumb, and even out the cement from the knot and downwards. Quickly spin on a desired amount of dubbing a little bit below the knot.

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Next, apply a small amount of the flexible cement to your index finger and thumb and roll the dubbed thread between them. Then push the body up against the knot.

The finished extension must dry for several minutes, so it is better to make half a dozen or more at one time instead of repeating the procedure for every fly.

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Grip the hook in the vise and spiral-wrap the thread to the bend. Then position the extension on top of the shank and adjust it to your desired length. Then position the extension on top of the shank and adjust it to your desired length. Bind it securely on the shank and trim off the waste end.

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Spin on small amount of dubbing - the same color you used on the extension - onto the tying thread. Now wrap it halfway up the shank to complete the abdomen. Trim off the cord behind the knot.

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Tie in the wings at about a 45-degree angle in front of the abdomen. On this fly I often use cree-colored hackles as a general color. I like the barred look of cree, but you can use any kind of feathers to match a particular species or your favorite general color.

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Tie the wingcase in next: Place the slice of Polycelon on top of the hook shank right in front of the wings. Secure it with a few wraps of tying thread and trim off the waste end. The Polycelon forms the relatively large thorax section on this insect and also helps float the fly. 

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Prepare the legs by knotting each rubber strand to create an angle and an impression of the natural's legs. Again, it is more efficient to make a bunch of these at one time instead of repeating the procedure for every fly.  tipulalegz.jpg (33078 bytes)
You can get Micro round rubber from Kaufmann's in the USA (

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Tie the three or four legs on each side of the fly. Trim off the rubber ends pointing forward. The natural insect only has six legs, but feel free to tie in a couple of extra rubber strands on the imitation.

bruns_tipula10.jpg (8079 bytes) Dub the rest of the body and pull the foam over the hook shank, forming the thorax of the insect. The head of the natural insect is quite small, so I just trim off the waste end of the Polycelon.


Bruns Tipula The Brun's Tipula is fairly easy to tie once you've tied a couple. Also try the extension on other large flies and you'll have a flexible and light fly that is easy to throw and don't reduce the hooking capability.

André Brun
Midsummer and autumn is the right time for this fly

André © Brun


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