Sticky, stretchy, waterproof, the stuff that holds it all together.

cased caddis housings are simply fascinating. used for protecting their fragile abdomens, to conceal themselves among all the stream bed debris and as ballast, these seemingly simple-minded creatures are pretty ingenious to say the least. the documentary footage is excellent, explanations simple. interesting for fishers and nature lovers of all ages, be sure to share this with your little ones, specially if they’re into creepy-crawly bugs, enjoy !

“Elephants eat Peanuts” (and bubble-butt caddis emergers)

bubble-caddis emerger Tightline Prod.

by Tim Flagler at TightLine Productions via MidCurrent

despite the what-i-believe controversy brought up by entomologists that caddis nymphs don’t actually create bubbles to reach the water surface and therefore turning LaFontaine’s theory into just another fly tying bubble of hot air… there’s no doubt whatsoever that LF’s famous fly works well but it’s safe to say that in many places around the Globe, the original is simply too shiny because caddis aren’t shiny but rather dull. this is easy to observe if one takes the time to look at these bugs when they’re coming up from the depths. if anything, it’s more of an attractor pattern and not really an imitation. of course, there’s nothing wrong with that because ‘matching a hatch’ isn’t strictly about copying the bugs that are there at the moment but finding the fly the fish will comfortably feel like slurping down.
anyway, replacing the standard Antron fibers by a feather makes a lot more sense, specially considering that most fish aren’t on hallucinogens and probably shouldn’t be particularly attracted to bright and glittery, color-changing disco light-type bugs.
Tim once again delivers a great tutorial in technique, style and simplicity. enjoy !

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Streaking through Flames

or “The Streaking Caddis” by Andreas Lestander

making muddler-style heads on flies involves a few more things than just deer hair and one of them (ok, two of them) is patience and tolerance, something your house-mates/concubine/wife/husband/pets/ will also need because the messy trimmed hairs get everywhere (oh yes, everywhere… ). you’ll also need some kind of tool to trim the head to shape, usually scissors or a razor-blade.

there’s nothing wrong with those two tools but the first one generally gives an unsightly lumpy-bumpy result and the second can easily turn into a ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’-like scene (if you can find those old-school blades in the first place) and with either, there’s still the damn hairs (and quite possibly a lot of blood) everywhere. everywhere.

ahhh, but there’s a third option and this one includes the always-fun-to-play-with element:  fire
in today’s brilliant tying tutorial, Andreas not only shows us how to make a nice, smooth, easy and sexy head (hmmmm… ) but also how to turn one mess into a completely different one !
see, what happens is the singed hairs disappear (yay, nothing to clean up !) but ! this disappearance is only relative because the hairs have reincarnated themselves into the most absolutely horrido-horrible zombie-like smoke smell you can ever imagine. it’s a well known fact that fly tiers have no sense of smell (or any other non-fly tying sense for that matter when they’re in the groove) which is probably a good thing to get good results but in today’s case, this lack is pretty detrimental to the rest of society and the best place to do this might be at an isolated cabin on top of a mountain. in the northernmost part of Sweden.
anyway, making this fly will not only bring the supreme joy of catching a lot of trout but also one of fulfilling a very important need  in our over-crowded society:  some time alone. should you not be able to get others to leave you alone then use this technique to make them leave !

– as written on the video, be sure to varnish the whip-finish before burning away to be sure your thread doesn’t melt !
– go creative with the body/abdomen. stripped peacock quill, cat gut and a myriad other goodies make excellent substitutes.
– personally i find this kind of barbecue lighter a lot easier to work with than the standard pocket lighter.

bic lighter

after-note: there are theories by the aforementioned sense-numbed tiers that trimming deer hair with fire actually cauterizes the hair tips, sealing the air cells within the hairs, further enhancing the floatability of the fly. i can not prove or disprove this, it does sound pretty good but a gut feeling tells me it’s bunk. i’d give these a good dose of Aquel anyway, just to be sure… 😉

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a soothing Rhyacophila

by Andreas Lestander

so soothing i almost drifted off to the deep-down land of green caddis-larvae slurping trouts !
green caddis larvae

these micro-monsters can be found all over the globe so it’s well worth having a few to dredge along the river bottom.
they’re highly segmented, probably crunchy, come in different shades of green and they’re really creepy. what’s not to love ?

Andreas pulls through again with another well explained, great step-by-step tutorial. enjoy !

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the SuperPupaPlus

dm supapupa variant
it sure doesn’t look like much but the Super Pupa is a hard-core/hard-fishing caddis pupa/emerging pattern. originating from Sweden, the mere mention of this fly’s name there brings far-away ‘in a trance’ looks. (i can’t figure out if it’s the joyful child-like glee of saying those two words or if it’s just another nickname for penis or vagina as there seems to be billions of them in colloquial Swedish… )

anyhow, Davie McPhail‘s version not only has a sexier than average body through the use of two shades of dubbing but the cdc antennae/claws/horns/antlers/feelers/party hat thing in the front will make it stand out in a hatch and this is a great accessory because nothing makes an angler (me) feel dumber than either missing a strike because i thought i was looking at my fly when in fact it was a real that the fish took or striking when the fish took a natural…

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“This’ll be a really heavy-heavy fly once it’s finished “

rather the understatement of the year…

a Bomb, Controller, Sacrificial, Depth-Charge or whatever you want to call it is a fly used to bring down lighter, more ‘natural swimming’ flies on droppers down to the bottom in deep pools and/or fast currents. one could consider it a sinker with a hook and that last point means that:
a) it could easily snag on a rock or something and b) it can also easily catch a bottom-hugging fish.
sure, a) sucks but b) makes it worth it, specially because some times there’s no other way to get our flies to the fish.

pretty much geared toward the ‘Euro-Nymphing’ approach where flies are lobbed back upstream after the drift, this bottom-dredging caddis imitation  by David Downie is sure to do the trick and pick up a few on it’s own. because of it’s weight be sure to pay special attention and greatly open up your loops and better yet use an elliptic cast if you’re going to cast it in a conventional way. (or be prepared to wear it somewhere on your head or body… :mrgreen: )

caddis portraits

i’m going off to talk to the trout  for a few days next to the Norwegian border and wanted to leave you some creepy-crawly caddis portraits for your enjoyment.
there may or may not be internet connexion but i’ll try to post at least some images during the stay.

and the weirdest and rarest one of all, a USNM Trichoptera

image source: Google Images

enjoy and have a great week-end !

Peeping Stick Caddis

by Mick Hall via Mustad

” Caddis larva come in two forms, those that build portable homes (Stick Caddis) and free living.  All caddis larva have a hardened section near and including the head, whilst the bodies are soft and range in colour from off white through to a dirty yellow and some have green bodies in a variety of shades.  They also have a set of claws at the end of their bodies.  Stick or case caddis use these claws to cling onto the inside of their portable case.

If you can catch a stick caddis and give it a little squeeze, the animal will be pushed out and it should be noted that because the grubs hold on to their case with those claws of theirs, they will most probably die from this exercise.  So the best thing to do is give it a good squash but don’t waste it, eat it…  “

that last bit says a lot about how Mick thinks and feels about nature and being part of it. this, in my opinion is what has brought him to such a deeper understanding of the aquatic systems than most.
this little article is indeed a real treat, read the rest HERE.

here’s Mick at last year’s fly fair in Stockholm. after showing me how to tie three of his wonderful flies and the tips and tricks that make them special he gave them to me and they’re now in the ‘special box’, the one that holds all my friend’s flies that will never go anywhere near water and the one i jokingly refer to as my ‘retirement fund’.
as we can see, Mick has a really big nose but other than that he’s a sweet-sweet man i very much look forward to meeting and spending time with again.

yesterday’s bugs

Thomas‘  new friend, Mr Mayfly

lunchtime bee

and the caddis that got away…

despite the great number of bugs under, on and around the surface, the hot air and water  temperature combined with low water conditions put the fish to sleep and very few where interested in playing.
it was still a beautiful day.

CDC and Elk Caddis

yup, another great tying video by Tightlines Productions with a wonderful classic fly designed by Hans Weilenmann.

i know it’s a little weird to say things like this, but if there was to be only one top of the water caddis imitation in my box this would be the one.
the silhouette, trigger points, floatation level, color and ‘simplistic’ material list and tying  are so spot-on that while making and playing around with other patterns might be fun, they’ll rarely outfish this one. as noted in the film, outside of the hook and thread there’s only two materials: CDC and elk or deer hair. give it a try if you aren’t already hooked.

creepers creeping and a few fins

from Tightline Productions

it’s such a treat to see all these bugs up close and under water. i was going to start off with my usual: ‘check out the details and behaviour, it’ll help us make better flies and fish them better’ but then, they’re so weird and cool, why not just enjoy them for what they are: weird-cool creatures. happy thursday !

Cinnamon and Brown Emerger Caddis

with Davie McPhail

an absolutely stunning version of Davy Wotton’s super-nice caddis emerger or egg-layer pattern. once again, through careful wording and attention to detail, McPhail demonstrates and wonderfully explains the tying process, showing us that high level fly tying is available to anyone. it just takes a little persistence and practice. thanks Davie.

aquatic insects struttin’ their stuff- continued thoughts on fly design

more than just being able to enjoy watching these critters in their watery world, this video shows us some interesting aspects of the naturals that might be beneficial to keep in mind when recreating them at the bench.
while a lot of artificial nymph bodies are rigid, we’ll notice that the naturals bend quite a bit around the abdomen area, specially while swimming. this bend can go up as well as down, meaning that the conventional way of imitating them, with the tail and abdomen bent in a downward position is only half correct.
when they’re not swimming a good number of mayfly nymphs have an enormous amount of movement once again in the abdomen area but this time because of their breathers flapping back and forth to collect air.

many tiers have included these elements in the form of articulated bodies and ostrich herl or cdc breathers, just name a few, but there’s still a lot of possibilities left in fly design. a little imagination and experimentation with different materials just might bring on a new wave of nymph design.
of course, we can rightfully argue (and i’m one of them !) that most of the time, such details aren’t of any practical significance as many imitations that don’t really imitate anything at all are equally effective but i guess that as fly tiers, we’re all after the elusive dream of coming up with the next ‘miracle’ fly, the one that will turn on the fish when everything else leaves them indiferent !

source: Tightline Productions

Tying the Klinkhamer Special with Davie McPhail.

Davie’s tying videos are always a treat. chock full of tying tips and tricks, the careful observer will discover a lot more than what’s being explained verbally.

designed by Hans Van Klinken,  the Klinhammer is one of the most original, creative and well thought out flies there is.

it’s easy to tie.

it’s easy to cast.

it’s easy to see on the water.

it imitates whatever you want it to imitate very well.

it catches a lot of fish, all sorts of fish and just about anywhere. 

hard to beat, huh ? it’s all good.