Fly #6 in the Series
The X-Caddis. Is it better than the traditional and classic Elk Hair Caddis? Now that I have tied a few of both, we are soon to find out. I will say this, the X-Caddis is a few degrees of difficulty easier than the traditional fly pattern. Less materials and easier to finish.
Tying the X-Caddis
This fly was left to one of the last to tie in the series as most dry flies are summer time flies, as is no exception with the caddis. As June turns into July, success with the caddis fly is prime time.
Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5. The Fly Tying Bible rates the Elk Hair Caddis as a 3 out of 5 for tying difficulty. With a couple fewer materials, this version of the caddis is pretty easy to tie. Probably the trickiest part is tying off after you fasten in the elk hair for the wing. You need to leave a fairly large loop of thread to get over the butt end of the elk hair the protrudes forward over the hook eye.
- wet fly hooks, from #8 to #12
- black or brown thread
- hare’s fur dubbing, brown or grey
- elk hair
Place the hook in the vise and wind on the thread beginning at the eye and winding in tight turns until opposite the hook point. I prefer caddis flies in size 8 to 12, although some guides recommend down to a size 14 hook.
Catch in some Antron, Z-lon or similar yarn for the tail. I didn’t have any so i substituted a somewhat darker small bunch of the elk hair. I actually like using this darker hair material for this purpose. If you let the hair twist around the shank as you catch it in, the butt ends will dangle forward like legs.
Once you reach the eye, pull off any extra dubbing and wind the thread back to the point opposite the hook point, in widely spaced turns, and then forward again, widely spaced, to hold the dubbing in place. Otherwise the first good fight with a trout will pull off all your dubbing.
Cut off a stack of elk hair and pinch together. Catch in tightly slightly behind the hook eye, allowing the butt end of the hair fibres to protrude forward just past the hook eye. Wrap the thread tightly 5 0r 6 times, and then tie off, using large loops to fit over the elk hair butt ends. Add some glue and you are finished.
For those who like the traditional caddis pattern, you can easily add the hackle component. After catching in the tail fibres, use a couple more loops of thread and catch in a hackle feather. Then add your dubbing to the thread and wind on the dubbing body forward. Follow the dubbing with winding the hackle forward.
I tied 2 of these X-Caddis flies (the 2 on the left) on a #8 dry fly hook and the other 4 on a #12 hook. The #8 flies look a little large, but trout start slurping up hoppers in August, you can often get them to bite at a big caddis as well.
The Fly Box
We are nearly complete with our 6 of our 7 flies for Canada tied.
Actually, it’s 7 out of the 8. I’ve added the Super Jumbo Mosquito fly to the box, lower right side. If you are fishing still water for trout, especially in the evening / sunset, you will love this fly. So with the dry fly X-Caddis added to the box, we are pretty well set for most fishing situations. Just the Egg Fly left, which is primarily a pattern for streams and rivers.