California fly tying legend Bob Quigley (1950–2012) was an early proponent of tying patterns to mimic specific moments in an insect’s life, rather than just focusing on the main stages of nymph, dun, and spinner. While fishing the Fall River in 1978, he noticed that the trout ignored most of the mayfly dunes on the water, opting instead to eat the cripples, which presented a much easier target. His Quigley Cripples series presented a realistic image of a mayfly that had not hatched properly and is struggling in surface film.

In this great video by Tightline productions, Tim Flagler walks you through the steps to create a Light Cahill version of the Quigley Cripple, but it’s easy to see how by changing the colors of the materials you can mimic almost any mayfly with this pattern. Along the way, Tim shares a few tips to help you rank better, such as: B. how to counter-wrap a fragile feather fiber, how to reverse the direction of your thread to secure the wire, and how to prepare the tie-in point on a hackle feather.


Light Cahill Quigley cripple
Hook: Wide gap dry fly hook (here a Lightning Strike DF1), size 14.
Thread: Tan, 6/0 or 70 denier.
Rib: Gold Ultra Wire, extra small.
Tail/Abdomen: Bleached pheasant tail fibers.
Thorax: Light Cahill beaver synchronization.
Wing: Short, fine, bleached deer hair, stacked.
Chop: Cream or Ginger Grizzly Hackle.
Head: binding thread.
Adhesive: Head cement (here Sally Hansen Hard-as-Nails).
Tool: Hackle tongs, striking tool.