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Kratville Caddis
Fly and photos by Dave Kratville, CA

I developed this method of attaching the foam body because I felt that many times flies are tied to catch fisherman rather than fish. We tie things that look good to us. If you look at a traditionally tied on foam body it looks great above but from the fish's perspective there is a hook tied across the bottom and the nice round segments are on top hidden by the wings.

I love using foam flies because no matter how hard I try they just don't sink. When fishing pocket water that is a must. Some people may be concerned that the foam blocks some of the hooks gap but it has never been a problem as the foam compresses easily. The body also rides low in the water when tied this way like a natural stuck in the surface film. While I have primarily tied and fished this as a hopper pattern with a big splat cast under overhanging vegetation it's floating ability makes it skitter very well as a caddis imitation. The unsinkable foam body and deer hair head makes this a great indicator fly for fishing with a nymph dropper.

This fly was born from many attempts at tinkering away at the vise. It borrows heavily from other patterns and can be tied in sizes to match many insects. Please feel free to experiment at the bench and post any improvements. Keep tinkering and tight lines.

Materials: Kratville Caddis

    Hook: - Tiemco 2302 Size 14-16 for Caddis, Size 10 for hoppers, Size 6-8 for stones.

    Thread: - Danville 3/0 or 6/0 on smaller flies. Black seems to make the segment lines stick out but red against the yellow for a hopper looks good too.

    Body: - Foam, either standard thickness (2mm) foam cut to an equal sided strip or 1 mm Razor foam folded and super glued on the smaller flies.

    Under-wing: - .5 mm white Razor foam.

    Over-wing: - 1mm tan Razor foam.

    Bullet-head and collar: deer hair, fine hair from flank of deer to keep bulk down.

    Legs: - Medium centipede legs or brown hackle.

Tying Instructions:

1. Trim piece of foam so that it is as wide as it is thick, or with Razor foam trim wide enough to wrap around hook and form a tube.

2. Push point of hook through foam one hook gap from end of foam, this forms the last segment of the body. Trim front of foam so that it ends about 2/3 the length of the shank. I like to taper the tie in point of the foam to reduce bulkiness.

3. Attach thread at mid-point of shank and wrap back to bend of hook making sure not to tie down foam.

4. Swing foam around under the hook and begin wrapping under the foam. Make several wraps at shank on top of each other to firmly secure the foam. Wrap forward making sure to come down and under as straight as possible and try to advance the thread forward on top of the foam. This makes the segments look nice, the fish probably don't care.

5. Trim the .5mm white razor foam to the length of the body and round the rear edge and taper the tie in point. Tie the foam down so that the foam extends to the end of the body. Place super glue along the length of the foam body and hold the white under-wing down for a few seconds until it sticks.

6. Trim a piece of 1mm tan razor foam the same as the under-wing. Tie in on top of the under-wing. Place a drop of super glue near the tie in point and hold down. Make sure the front half of the upper-wing sticks to the glue but the rear end is separated a bit. This makes the fly look like it is adjusting its wings; this gap also can trap a small bubble of air if the fly happens to submerge a little bit.

7. Cut a small clump of deer hair, stack and remove underfur. Trim the hair so that is a little longer than the shank length. Tie the hair in as you would any other bullet-head, wrap right up to eye of hook. Allow hair to spin around hook and then pull back over body and tie in forming a nice collar and head. The collar should end just shy of the foam body and wings.

8. Tie in either a brown hackle for the smaller flies or rubber legs for hoppers and stones ala a Madam-X.

9. Whip finish and trim the collar on the bottom of the fly to expose the segmented body.

10. Hopper variation.

11. Stone variation.

12. More variations below.

~ Dave Kratville

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

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