Category Archives: Mary Kuss, PA Fly Fisher

Mopping Up With the Mop Fly

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

While I can’t say I’ve exactly “mopped up” with the Mop Fly, I have used it with some success. Like a lot of ugly flies that don’t fit our theories of imitation, but sometimes work very well nevertheless, the Mop Fly has its detractors. If you wouldn’t be caught dead with a Mop Fly on the end of your leader, of course you are under no obligation to use one. On the other hand those of us who are more open-minded are under no obligation not to. All of the wise cracks about the fine line between being open-minded and having a hole in one’s head notwithstanding. more…

The Giant Crane Fly

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

Even if your knowledge of entomology is rather limited, it’s a virtual certainty that you’ve seen the adult form of the Giant Crane Fly. These are the huge, long-legged creatures that resemble a mosquito on steroids and are often seen buzzing around outdoor lights during the warm months of the year. They are, in fact, members of the order Diptera and thus related to mosquitoes, although thank heaven they do not bite!

The larvae are rather shy and retiring, and less likely to be seen by the average person. They are semi-aquatic and live in the moist soil and leaf litter along the edges of streams. If you’re an ice fisherman you may have used a bait called “spikes,” which are Giant Crane Fly larvae.

The first time I ever a Giant Crane Fly larva was at the Stroud Water Research Laboratory, along the White Clay Creek in Avondale, PA. I was there while a student at Widener University, conducting my senior research project. My study did not involve Giant Crane Fly larvae, but I found the work of the professional scientists there of great interest. One day I was wandering around the lab to see what the researchers were up to. I immediately noticed that someone had a kettle of water boiling on a hot plate. I had been schooled that it was very poor form to eat or drink in a laboratory, although I supposed that the pros might be a little less strict about this rule. But no one was making tea. One of the biologists took the kettle over to a Pyrex dish full of big, ugly looking larvae and poured the boiling water on them. I asked what the creatures were, and why they were being exposed to this treatment. I was told that Giant Crane Fly larvae were so tough that this was the best way to kill them relatively humanely. If they were sealed up in a vial of preservative, they would still be alive the next day! more…

Choosing a Crayfish – Part 2

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

In Part 1 of this post, I talked about choosing a crayfish pattern. In this post, I show you how to tie one of my favorites.

MK Baby Crayfish
Hook: #6 Mustad 3366 or equivalent
Thread: Danville 3/0 Monocord, Brown
Wire: 0.025” lead or lead-free
Weight: XS nickel-plated dumbbell eyes
Tail: Grizzly Marabou, Brown or Sculpin Olive
Glue (Optional): Brush-On Super Glue
Body: Micro Polar Chenille, Brown or Brown-Olive
Legs: Silicone leg material of your choice
Dubbing: Coarse rusty brown

1. De-barb hook and mount in vise. Lay a thread base from the head position back to the hook point and forward again to about a hook eye width back from the back edge of the hook eye.

Catch in the wire on top of the hook and wrap thread back to the hook point and forward again. Break off the wire at the back of the thread base. Align wire on top of the shank. more…