This week we are tying an Elk Hair Caddis. I have had lots of requests from new tiers and people having trouble getting their wings to look full. I know that it a little out of season but start filling those boxes now.
This is a pretty straight forward fly to tie but there are a few tricks to tying this fly.
1- Make your body nice and plump. Caddis bodies are not slim, they are plump and juicy. So keep this in mind when dubbing your body. Also dont crowd the eye of the hook with you body. You are going to need to leave enough room to bind your hackle, wire and wing. Leave to much room and your head will look big and bulky. To little and you will not have enough room for the wing. Tie a few with different body lengths and you will find the perfect length.
2- Prep the hackle before you tie it to the hook shank. Strip the barbs off both sides and wrap your thread directly over the bare stem. Leave enough stem so that you get one full wrap of stem before the barbs start to splay out. This will help make your hackles look clean. Also make sure the you tie in the feather the correct way. There are two sides to a feather, concave and convex. I hold the feather on the near side of the fly parelel to the hook shank. Place the concave portion away from you, towards the body and secure with a few tight wraps of thread. Wrap from the back forward. Keep a good amount and even tension on the feather as you wrap forward.
3- Having problems with your wing? I was to until Larry and Lester showed me a few tricks to get that great looking wing and head. First lay a good smooth thread base at the eye of the hook. This is provides a good foundation for the hair to flair. Hold your clump of hair on top of the hook and give it two loose wraps of thread, make sure that they are loose. With your bobbin on the bottom of the fly tighten those two loose wraps. Dont be afraid to break the thread a few times to find that perfect tension. You want to be able to wrench down pretty tight! Give it one or two more loose wraps and cinch it down again. Now you need to give it some more flair and prevent your wing from sliding around on the shank…
4- Grab your bodkin and divide your wing in half and wrap your thread through one time and pull it tight. Now go to the front of the fly and divide the head at aprox. 1/3, slide your thread through and pull it tight. Now do the same at approx. 2/3 of the wing. Now pull back all the hair and wrap at the eye and whip finish. Gather the ends and cut a nice clean head.
This is an easy fly to tie but takes a little practice to make it look perfect! If you are still having problems with the wing stop in the shop and we will sit down and tie a few.