X-Caddis by Nicole March

X-Caddis by Nicole March

The X Caddis was created by Craig Matthews of Blue Ribbon Flies, and imitates a newly emerged caddisfly struggling to free itself of its shuck in the waters film. This pattern is simple and effective and can be adjusted to match the naturals in your area easily, just by changing the colors and sizes.


Thread: Tan 6/0
Uni 6/0
Superfly 6/0
Danville 6/0

Shuck: Brown Sparkle Emerger Yarn

Body: Ginger Hare-tron Dubbing

Wing: Natural Comparadun Deer Hair

Recommended tools: Wax, Hair Stacker, Brush 


Step 1

Start your thread one eye length behind the hook eye and take touching turns back towards the bend. Stop your thread about halfway down the hook shank.



Step 2

Remove a pinch of sparkle emerger fibers from the bundle and tie them in at the halfway mark with two or three loose wraps. Grasp the fibers overhanging the bend of the hook and pull to shorten the butt ends; keeping them away from the eye. This will help you straighten them under the thread wraps as well as keep you from having to waste material. Lock it in to place with turns of thread down the hook shank, stopping right before the hook bend.



Step 3

With the shuck firmly secured in place, grasp the emerger yarn that is trailing over the hook bend and pull it over the hook eye. You can now use your scissors to trim the shuck about two or three eye lengths past the eye, but don’t worry about being too exact. It’s always better to leave It a little too long as you can always trim it later.



Step 4

Depending on the type of dubbing I am using, when it comes to creating a tapered body on a fly occasionally I prefer to use a little bit of wax on the thread before dubbing it. This way I can touch dub it before rolling it into a noodle. It helps keep the bulk down at the base of the fly with some of the more natural materials that tend to get heavy quickly. Wax your thread and with your thread dubbing loosely you can now roll it into a noodle.

When creating the body, rotating your vise will also help you steer clear of the hook point for the first few wraps. You will want to create a tapered body up the hook shank, stopping about an eye length behind the eye.



Step 5

Select and cut a pretty decent sized bundle of coastal deer hair from the hide, then use your fingers to brush out the underfur and loose fibers from the deer hair. Fanning the hair in your fingers will help to remove a lot of it, but a comb will help remove the rest.



Step 6

Place your cleaned deer hair, tip side down in your hair stacker and use it to align the tips by tapping it either in your hand or on the desks surface. Before removing the hair from the stacker, remember that having to switch hands back and forth is a normal occurrence when utilizing a hair stacker, but too many moves ultimately can result in a mess. One way to avoid having to flip the bundle of hair over excessively on this pattern is to open the stacker with your right hand, and grasping the tips with your left. This way you only need to switch hands once or twice.



Step 7

With the tips secured in your left hand, switch the bundle of hair to the right hand, being careful not to roll your fingers which will cause the deer hair to slide around. You will want a secure transfer. Remember, when positioning the deer hair over the hook shank the tips should be facing the bend of the hook and the butt ends extending over the eye.



Step 8

Measure the tips so that they extend a little ways beyond the bend of the hook. Once your deer hair is in place and you like the positioning, hold it there and switch hands one final time.



Step 9

With your thread still hanging one eye length back behind the eye, and a firm hold on the wing itself, take one or two loose wraps over the deer hair. Then as you bring your thread around the hook shank a third time, pull straight up with the thread and the butt ends will begin to flare. Just be sure not to let the bundle go or it will begin to spin around the hook. As the deer hair flares take a few more firm wraps in the same spot to secure it in place before letting the wing itself go. Your fly should look something like this; its a bit messy but don’t worry as we are going to trim that up shortly.



Step 10

Now everyone has a different way of doing things and this fly is no exception. When I’m working with a deer hair wing, depending on the size of the fly; I tend to split the butt ends of the wing that extend over the eye into two or three sections as I secure it to the front. You can do this by pulling back about 1/3 of the waste ends and taking one tight wrap through the fibers. Then pull back the next 1/3 and take another single wrap. Finally all that is left is pulled back and a small head is created right behind the eye. As you can see everything is secured nicely to the front.



Step 11

You can now take a couple turn whip finish before snipping off the thread.



Step 12

It’s time to trim the head of your fly! With your scissors or bodkin begin to separate the wing from the waste ends carefully by pushing them apart.


Step 13

With your material separated, grasp only the butt ends in one hand and using your scissors, cut them off straight across. You can then trim off any runaway strands of hair or waste ends that might be blocking the eye.



Step 14

If you find that your wing lays too low to the body after finishing your fly, since you have secured the head with the 1/3 wraps; you can simply grasp the wing and pull up on it without the fear that it will come apart. This method also goes for when you are out on the water after a few fish. Be sure to finish the underside of your flies thread head with a small drop of head cement or UV finish.



Other Variations

Olive X-Caddis

Hook: Partridge Standard Dry #10-16


Thread: Olive 6/0
Uni 6/0
Superfly 6/0
Danville 6/0

Shuck: Sparkle Emerger Yarn Olive

Body: Hare-tron Dubbing Olive

Wing: Natural Comparadun Deer Hair



"Black X-Caddis"

Hook: SPRITE All-purpose Dry Fly hook #12-#16

Thread: Black 6/0
Uni 6/0
Superfly 6/0
Danville 6/0

Shuck: Sparkle Emerger Yarn Black and Brown Mixed

Body: Sybai Flash Nymph Dubbing Black

Wing: Comparadun Deer Hair Dun

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