Tie a Better Elk Hair Caddis
Cheech - April, 2014
Several years ago I came down with a serious illness called night fishing with caddisflies. This type of illness will consume all that you do, and your thoughts will constantly be directed toward those low-light audible gulps where you think you can see your fly, but you aren't quite sure. The huge sound of a brown trout bowling ball slamming the surface for a caddisfly is one that is not soon forgotten.
OK, enough reminiscing about that... Elk Hair Caddis (EHC) patterns have been a staple in the industry ever since Al Troth graced us with it's presence. It is an excellent skating pattern and has a lifelike tent shaped silhouette on the water. It floats high, it's durable, and it catches fish so everyone should have them in their boxes right? Right. I think everyone remembers their first EHC - the body and hackle go off without a hitch... but here comes that blasted wing that NEVER stays on top of the hook shank. Do you pre-cut the wing before tie in? Do you cut it after the tie in? How do you tie it so the wing doesn't pull out of the tie in spot when you fish it? Perhaps I'm creating a mountain out of a mole hill, But this fly can be outright frustrating. We are aiming to fix some of those issues because this fly can be a fly that you should be able to tie in your sleep. It's very very simple.
As you watch this video look out for two things. First - a technique to make your body hackle bomb proof*. Second - a technique to proportion the wing and tie it in so it is also bomb proof*.
The thread that I'm using is a thread that many people in Utah will know well. A good friend and mentor of mine, Boyd Guymon, is the guy who hand spools this thread for me, so we decided to bring some in to the store. It's a thin monofilament thread that has some very cool applications in tying. Boyd is one of the top 10% of nice people in this world, and he has been very generous over the years sharing information and fly patterns with me. I'm very fortunate to be able to consider him a close friend.
*These are not actually "bomb" proof... It is simply a play on words to indicate that it is "durable." For the more literal thinkers out there ;)
- Hook: Daiichi 1180 - Standard Dry Fly Hook - 14
- Thread: Veevus Mono Thread - Clear White - .1mm
- Body: Nature's Spirit Fine Natural Dubbing - Callibaetis
- Wing: Nature's Spirit Select Cow Elk - Natural