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Cased Caddis
By Ron Eagle Elk, (REE) Washington

Okay, in light of recent posts about fly thieves by D. Micus, I'll admit up front that I stole this fly from someone else. Actually, two someone elses. One was a poster on this site who suggested the material for the exterior of this version of a cased caddis, the other is Oliver Edwards, who provided the insight to creating the front half of the fly.

Anyhow, to tie up this version of the cased caddis your going to need hooks (I used Mustad 9772 in size 8; antron yarn in cream, tan or olive green; tying thread in your choice of color; something to use as an underbody I used chartruese flexy-floss because it was what I had available); small partridge feathers; the smallest dark colored metal bead you can fit on the hook; a good cement such as fleximent, softex or 5 minute epoxy; and lastly, model railroad ballast in a color to match the naturals in your area. Oh yeah, you're also going to need a cigarette lighter and maybe a little air freshener.

A word about model railroad ballast. When I went to buy some I figured I'd spend a couple of bucks and get a little of the stuff. When I got to the local hobby shop they had a selection of ballast that boggled the mind. Lots of colors and various sizes of rock, not to mention quantities. For about six bucks I got a small bag of tan and one of brown. Once mixed together in a tupperware bowl stolen from my wife's kitchen (Ssssssshhhhhhhhhh!) I found I have enough ballast to tie several lifetimes worth of cased caddis.

There are probably better and faster ways to tie this fly but this is how I started, and after a dozen it just seems natural. Before you start to tie you flies, mix your model railroad ballast to get the desired effect. Dump the mix into a tea strainer and rinse well under running water. Spread it out on a paper towel to dry completely before you start tying. Once dry, put it back in the bowl stolen from the kitchen.

Tying Instructions: Cased Caddis:

1. Slide the bead on the hook somewhere on the shank. At the hook eye build up a small thread bump, so that the bead has a snug fit next to the eye. Whip finish the thread and snip it.

2. Place a drop of head cement on the thread bump and slide the bead over the bump next to the eye.

Cut a piece of antron yarn about 2 inches long. With your trusty lighter in your hand try to melt one end of the yarn without setting it afire. Don't feel bad, I couldn't do it either. Once it's aflame, do NOT allow the flaming or dripping antron to drop on any clothing, good furniture, or bare skin. Blow it out quickly and observe the newly formed, shiney black head of our cased caddis. You, and most likely your significant other, will also notice a disagreeable smell due to the burning of the yarn. Time for a shot of air freshener to keep peace in the family.

3. Remount your tying thread behind the bead and wrap a thread base back to the hook bend. Lay your newly formed caddis headed yarn on top of the hook with the head over the hook bend. The cased caddis seldom expose much of their tender body, so only allow about 1/8 inch to hang over the bend. Secure the yarn with a couple of wraps of thread. Keeping the yarn on top of the hook as much as possible, tie the yarn down the hook shank back to the bead. Trim the excess yarn and wrap back to the hook bend. I tried tying in at the bead and wrapping toward the bend, but the yarn always stretched and left too much yarn exposed.

4. Select a partridge feather with short barbs. I use those nicely marked feathers from the saddle area of the skin. Strip the barbs from one side of the feather and tie the feather in by the tip right behind the head of the fly. Clip the excess tip.

5. Wrap the partridge hackle around the hook, using two or three turns. Secure the feather with a couple wraps of thread and clip the excess. Take a couple more wraps behind the hackle to force the barbs out and around the yarn head of the caddis. Wrap the thread back to the bead and tie in the chosen underbody material. Again, I used Chartruese flexi-floss because that's what I had laying around. It also has a nice insect green color when wrapped.

6. Wrap several layers of the underbody to build up some bulk. If you use flexi-floss you can also stretch the floss near the bead and ease up on the tension near the head to create a tapered under body. When you have attained the desired underbody, tie off the material, clip the excess and whip finish at the bead.

When I'm tying these caddis flies, I usually tie more than one, so I tie all the flies to this point before going on to the next step.

Grab your adhesive; fleximent, softex or epoxy; the mixed, rinsed and dried model railroad ballast; some old newspapers and the air freshener.

7. Spread the newspaper out over the work area and open the adhesive. For those using epoxy, mix small batches as needed or it will set up before your done. Apply a liberal coat of your chosen adhesive on the underbody of the fly, let it get a bit tacky then roll the fly in the ballast mix. Use your fingers to force the ballast into the adhesive and shape the final body. Be sure to keep the hook eye clear of stones and adhesive. About this time your significant other should start complaining about the smell of the adhesive, so a couple squirts of air freshner will usually stop the problem.

Hang your finished flies to dry overnight.

This is a really tough fly that trout just seem to love. I hope they are as successful for you as they are for me. ~ REE

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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