Saturday, 10 January 2015

2015, the year of the caddis

As a rule I rarely fish into the evening; it's something that needs to change this coming season. I fished late only once last year, it proved to be quite a productive evening, balloon caddis and KlinkhÄmers were the successful flies. I didn't have any proper adult caddis patterns, something that will be rectified this year and I have started to tie some already.

A pattern that has been successful in the past is the G&H sedge, the deer hair body ensures it floats superbly and stays afloat too. There has been a large piece of roe deer laying in my fur drawer, it's intended use has always been G&H sedges - rarely fishing stillwaters means muddler patterns aren't much of a priority at present. If you need any well prepared and reasonably priced deer hair, my friend Mike sells it on eBay, have a look here for deer hair and other patches of fur.

The original pattern calls for a dubbing loop twisted with green seals fur for the under-body, most tiers omit this these days; the ones I have been tying haven't had an under-body, but I may do some with another time.

G&H Sedge
Hook: Partridge Supreme dry sizes 10-16
Thread: 55d GSP
Body: Deer hair
Hackle: Two Coachman brown Hebert Miner cock hackles
Antenna: Hackle stalks
Another fly I have been tying is a pattern I came across on the Flyforums. Kris (hydropysched) revealed this pattern after a good days fishing. Kris used seals fur to give the fly a shaggy thorax and after a combined brainstorm with Mike we modified it by changing the thorax to mouflon. For those of you who haven't heard or come across mouflon before, it's a mountain sheep with hair very similar to deer. I found a vintage hide on eBay that went for a reasonable final price, a fly called Prawu sedge led to the desire of wanting to try this material. You can find the fly here on Hans Weilenmann's excellent website.

Best used sparsely in a dubbing loop, trim and kink the hair strands in your fingers.
Christened the Mouflon Marauder - I'm not sure if Kris ever named it - it will likely be taken for an emerging caddis although I'm sure with some crafty twitching and skating it could make a passable egg-laying female.

Mouflon marauder
Hook: Partridge 15BN Klinkhamer sizes 12-16
Thread: 55d GSP
Body: Fly-Rite poly dubbing no.19 light tan
Wing: Nature's Spirit cow elk back strip
Thorax: Mouflon tied sparsely in a dubbing loop
A close up of the shaggy mouflon thorax
I have used Nature's Spirit cow elk back-strip for the wing, it has thicker walls to the hair so doesn't compress and flare so much giving it a better shaped wing; you can find it here at Funky Fly Tying. As for the mouflon, I don't know where you could find it except eBay, I don't know of any suppliers that sell it, maybe as it is a continental species you might be able to buy some from a European supplier.

The balloon caddis is a fly that until last season never really did anything for me. I managed to catch a number of fish on it, not only in the evening, but during the day, in a variety of water from pockets in between boulders on the River Barle in Exmoor and smooth glides full of slashing, jumping trout. For extra buoyancy and to further enhance its float-ability I use Fish-on ultra dry yarn in cinnamon as an under-wing beneath the elk hair. A chartreuse green butt and brown body, both Fly-Rite poly dubbing complete the abdomen, with a thorax of fox squirrel dubbed thickly under a yellow foam head.

Roman Moser's Balloon caddis variant
Hook: Partridge SLD sizes 12-16
Butt: Chartreuse dubbing
Body: Brown dubbing
Underwing: Cinnamon Fish-On Ultra dry yarn
Wing: Natural elk
Thorax: Squirrel
Head/Thorax cover: Yellow foam 
A product that is new to me, are the very realistic sedge wings from Reel wings. Ever since I first read Steve Thornton's Listen to the River, have I longed to come across decent realistic caddis wings. The ones sold by Virtual nymph weren't great and the Lierfjord caddis wings used by Steve are unobtainable as far as I can tell, I've never been able to find them.

The Reel wing sedge wings look great once they have been coloured; they are made from white plastic, perfect for colouring any shade you want. I'm unsure whether the rigidity of the plastic will affect hook-ups, but they are by no means solid.

Again I have used mouflon for the thorax, trimmed in a way that the top follows the angle of the wing leaving hairs protruding from the side and rear simulating legs. The body is made from CDC feather that are twisted and wrapped around the hook shank, any stray fibers trimmed to form a close, slightly segmented abdomen.

Reel Wings Caddis
Hook: Tiemco 100BL size 10
Thread: 55d GSP
Butt: Troutline Select CDC caddis green
Body: Troutline Select CDC brown
Wing: Reel Wings Caddis wing large
Thorax: Mouflon tied sparsely in a dubbing loop

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