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Pettis' Pulsating Caddis
Pupa (Hydropsyche)
By Joe J. Warren

One great idea leads to another and so it was with the creation of the Pulsator Caddis. This pattern is Jim Pettis' first glass-bead fly. He originated the fly in 1993 after being inspired by John Ciulla's article, "Gas-Bubble Pupa." Jim opted for a slightly different approach for incorporating beads into his fly patterns. Both fly tiers have completely different motives for using beads, this helps show tiers the many different possibilities for using beads in flies.

Jim has set a trend by utilizing the light-absorbing characteristics in glass beads to give them a transparent look as he ties the materials in between and around the beads. Just add water and watch them come alive.

Jim ties the Pulsator Caddis as a pupa, pupa bead-head, and an emerger. . .

The two prominent caddisflies Hydropsyche (a net-spinning caddis) and Brachycentrus (a tube-cased caddis), that inhabit the Sacramento River near Redding, California, are a main staple in the diet of very big rainbow trout that thrive there. I am certain that if you take Jim's lead, you can effectively match your local caddis flies with the appropriate color scheme.

When the caddis are in season, try fishing the fly on the bottom (don't negate the use of split-shot) in early morning, the mid-water column in the afternoon, and in the evening convert over to Pettis' Pulsating Caddis Emerger for the surface action. Keep a firm grip on your rod!

Materials List:

    Hook:   Tiemco 2457, Daiichi 1250, sizes 12-16.

    Thread:   Olive 6/0, prewaxed.

    Body:   Four to six orange (sl) beads, small.

    Bead Dressing:   Lava brown Buggy Nymph Dubbing.

    Legs:   Wood duck flank fibers.

    Thorax:   Dark brown Buggy Nymph Dubbing.

Instructions - Pettis' Pulsating Caddis:

    1. If desired, slide one small gold bead onto the hook followed by the glass bead and place the hook in the vise. Start the thread at the eye and wrap towards the beads leaving ample room for the thorax and head. Wrap the thread to the hook bend by securing the glass beads in succession with one or two wraps.

    2. Form a dubbing string with a moderate amount of dubbing.

    3. Dub forward with one or two wraps between each bead, gradually building the abdomen as you wrap to the front. Bring the thread ahead of the font bead and wrap several times to secure.

    4. Brush the dubbing in a circular motion until beads are slightly exposed.

    5. Gently brush dubbing to the rear to lay down fibers (Author's Note: the fingers work well, too).

    6. Tie in 8 - 12 wood duck fibers per side. Spread the fibers in a fan-like array and secure them with tight thread wraps.

    7. Add dubbing material to the thread and wrap forward to form the thorax. Whip finish the thread to complete the head. ~ JJW

Credits: This fly is one of hundreds of innovation flies included in the book, Tying Glass Bead Flies by Joe J. Warren, published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission!

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

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