I have a friend who fly fishes. He does not tie flies, but does g
et out fishing some. We are still trying to get together to go
fishing. He has a very busy schedule. So I try to keep him
supplied in flies. This is not hard to do as I tie a few more
of whatever pattern I am doing at the time and toss them in a
box. When the box gets fairly full then I mail it to him. Actually
I use two boxes to keep the flies in. One for dry flies and one
for all the other flies that get tied. That way I can put the
dry flies in a bag when I send them to him to keep them separate.
We had been in contact and he had told me that some "Elk Hair Caddis"
would be nice.
He had caught his first brown trout on one. So I decided this might
be a good time to whip up a few and send them to him.
I have tying (collecting materials) long enough to have about six
different shades of hairs ear dubbing that can be used on these
flies. Light and dark colors of natural and olive dubbing do not
always come out the same. I also have three pieces of elk hide
that are all different shades of brown. This means that I can
tie a variety of colors in the same pattern.
I am going to build up my stock a little on this also. So I pull
out 8 hooks each in size 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20. Yes I am going
to tie some little EHC. I have not done many of these smaller sizes,
but this seems to be a good time.
I do fairly well on the size 10 and 12. I have them in several color
combinations. They even look half way decent. This is good; I seem
to be on a roll. The materials are going on nicely and the hair is
behaving for me. I am getting a fly tied every couple of minutes.
I do not try to rush when I am tying. So this is fairly good for me.
I start to run into a little trouble when I get to the size 14 hooks.
I am building up too much thread. Using fewer wraps does not seem to
do it for me. So I go to a smaller thread size. I am too heavy handed
and tend to break the thread. Time to take a break and come back to
it. That many times is the best thing for me to do. When I come back
I am not so heavy handed.
After about 15 minutes I can get back to the tying. By playing with
the thread for a few minutes I get the "feel" for the thread and can
wrap the bodies and tie on the hair fairly well again. That is after
I figure out how much I needed to decrease the hair for the smaller
hook. You did not believe me when I have stated that I am a creature
I get the rhythm finally and get the size 14 flies tied up. I then
turn to the size 16 hooks.
I do four of these with the hairs ear dubbing. This is the time that
it gets dangerous when I am tying. I remember how well the CDC Elk
Hair Caddis has worked for me. I got to watch Hans Weilenmann tie
this fly at SowBug last year. His are prettier than mine.
I decide that the rest of these flies need to be the CDC EHC. I do
have several colors of CDC feather so I can again make a variety
of colors of this basic pattern.
I get the size 16 done and they look pretty darn good, even when
I compare them to the one Hans tied.
The size 18 and 20 hooks drive me nuts. I can get the CDC feather
tied on, but the hair is going all over the place on me. I can't
spin hair as well as it is doing now. I try several things to
keep the hair on top of the hook and none of them work. I have
hair everywhere, but where I want it to be.
I finally come up with my solution to this problem. I wrap the shank
with a larger size thread. I also tie the CDC feather on with this
thread and then wrap the thread up the hook to just past where the
CDC feather will be tied in. Far enough past that the hair for the
wing will set on this thread. I then loop it over an extension arm
past the eye of the hook. I wrap the smaller thread over this to
hold it and then cut the thicker thread off. I then wrapped the CDC
feather up and tied it off with the smaller thread. The hair for
the wing stays on better now. Maybe the thicker thread allows a
better grip with the hair and holds it in place. Maybe it is my
tying ability that causes the problem.
In any case I finally get the size 18 and 20 finished. I spent more
time on getting them done than I did on getting all of the rest of
the flies done. I had received some deer hair that had been bleached
to look like elk hair. I found this easier to use on the smaller
sized flies also. So these flies were not pure Elk Hair Caddis.
My defense is that A K Best in Production Fly Tying states
that he used deer hair for all his Elk Hair Caddis patterns.
Whatever is used it will be a little while before I do any more of
those small sized pattern of the fly. I am not sure they are worth
the work that went into them. Or maybe I just need to tie more
small patterns to get used to doing it. By the time I finished
them I was muttering about that darn fly.
Not a good place to be when you are tying flies. I hope you have
a better time at the vice than I did on this day. ~ Rick Zieger