PUBLISHED: 11:38 AM on Thursday, September 28, 2006
Tying the caseless caddis
I was researching a fishing trip to Canada when I ran across a pattern I hadn't thought about for a long time. It was a caddis larva pattern, sans case. And since we've been pounding out the streamers left and right, I thought tying something from the insect world might be a nice change of pace. After all, tying aquatic and terrestrial insects is where it really all began, right? So glad you agree. Let's try one.

1. Here's what we have so far. I've wrapped wire around the shank of a #12 nymph hook, which has a slight bend in the middle. I then took a few inches of tippet mono and tied it in at the tail. Over that I've cut out a wing case from a sheet of fly-tying plastic, such as Edge Glo or Flexibody. Trim the case so that it's a bit longer than the hook. The width is roughly a quarter of an inch, with a tapered end of about one-eighth. Tie down the narrow end at the tail, above the mono.

2. Dub a yellow or green fur to your thread and build a nicely tapered body. Fuzzy bodies are cool, so mix some guard hair with the soft stuff. Synthetic fur works just as well. Yellow and green are pretty standard, but don't feel limited. You can experiment with different shades of wing cases as well, but keep them clear or just slightly tinted if you want the body color to show through.

3 & 4. For the abdomen we're going to use a dubbing loop and either fitch or mink fur - or a synthetic facsimile thereof. Form your loop and dub the fur and guard hairs onto one of the strands, before spinning both strands into a tight furry noodle. Don't have a spinning tool?

A crochet hook works pretty well. Just hook the loop and spin away. Now wrap the abdomen until the girth is just right.

5. Okay, almost there. Remember that wing case you left dangling behind your fly in the first step? Take that wing case and pull it over your fly - from tail to head - securing it down behind the eye. Trim away the excess. You'll want to cover the top half of your fly's body and abdomen with the wing case. This is usually where you find out what kind of a job you did sizing up the wing.

6. Finally, take the mono and wrap several very tight spirals around the body and abdomen, securing and trimming it behind the head. Keep those wraps tight and evenly spaced, but a bit wider apart over the abdomen. If you use a dark tippet material the bug's segments will show up much better. Now, build and whip-finish your head, add a drop or two of cement and whew, it's a bug thing.

Whether you're talking larva, pupa or the adult stage, the caddis fly is an important part of any trout's diet, regardless of when or where you're fishing. It pays to have plenty in your fly box. Happy tying! Comments: