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Cinnamon Teardrop
By Marty Bartholomew
Contributed By Fred Vargas

This fly was developed by Bob Braendle, at the time an employee for the Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company. Braendle co-authored the book Caddis super Hatches with Carl Richards where the fly was debuted. This book covers the super caddisfly hatches from around the country. Fred assisted them in gathering caddisfly specimens from local waters for the research needed to put the book together. Braendle set up an aquarium in the basement of the fly shop and put a number of caddisfly larvae in the tank. He would spend hours watching the movements of these caddisflies and actually got to see them emerge and hatch. The time spent watching the aquarium, along with hours of on-stream observations of the caddisfly's lifecycle, gave him the idea for this pattern.

Since it imitates an emerger or stillborn, the best way to fish this fly would be with a drag-free float or with the addition of a minute wiggle or shake that mimics the struggle of the insect trying to free itself. This pattern can be tied in any body color combination to match the angler's local hatches. The teardrop made with Darlon should be tan or gold on most versions to match the shuck as it is shed by the insect.

The poly wing on this fly can be treated with Water Shed, a permanent waterproofing agent that keeps the fly afloat very well.

Materials for Cinnamon Teardrop:

    Hook: Wide-gaped scud, light wire, size 10-18 Tiemco 2457.

    Thread: Brown 8/0, Gudebrod.

    Body: Fine & Dry dubbing, cinnamon.

    Overbody: Darlon, gold.

    Legs: Brown hackle.

    Wing: Polypropylene yarn, gray-dun.

Tying Instructions:

Step 1

    1. Start thread on the shank at the spot even with the hook point and wrap a thread base to the back of the hook just beyond the spot even with the barb. Dub a thin body from this point to where you started the thread.

    Step 2

    2. Secure a bundle of Darlon in front of the body with two soft wraps of thread, no thread torque at all. Take a thumbnail and press on the fibers from the top of the hook. This forces the fibers down the sides of the shank allowing the fibers to encompass the hook shank. Tighten the thread and make a couple of wraps back towards the body. Using a fine, clear thread or 8X tippet material; make a simple overhand knot around the Darlon. The knot should be about a 1/2 hook shank length beyond the bend of the hook. You are making an extended trailing shuck with the Darlon, which looks very much like a teardrop, hence the name of the fly. The shuck should be 3/4 of the body length.

    Step 3

    3. Fred uses a medical instrument used to cauterize blood vessels to melt the Darlon at the knot. You push a button on this thing and it is red hot instantly. A hot bodkin or needle will work, but you need to keep a candle burning to heat it up for each fly. This is also the reason for using monofilament for the knotting material. It melts right along with the Darlon to help hold the individual strands together. Nifty little trick!

    Step 4

    4. Add a small amount of dubbing in front of the Darlon teardrop.

    Step 5

    5. Secure a brown hackle in front of the body and make two or three turns with the hackle for the legs on the fly. These turns of hackle do nothing for the floatability of the fly. Secure the hackle and trim excess. Trim hackle on the top and bottom of the hook, leaving the barbules on the side for the legs.

    Step 6

    6. Take a bundle of polypropylene yarn and secure it with several tight wraps of thread on top of the hook in front of the legs. Whip finish and trim wing to length. Trim fibers hanging over the eye of the hook even with the very front of the hook. Pushing on the top with your thumbnail spreads the poly yarn. The wing will float the fly much better if the poly yarn is spread evenly on top of the body and on both sides of the hook at the tie-in point. Dress only the wing with floatant so that the body and the shuck are below the water surface.

    Finished fly

    ~ Marty Bartholomew

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


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