How to Tie a Corded Cased Caddis
I call this fly the Corded Cased Caddis. I know, I know, cased caddis don’t have tails, but I figure the tail can’t hurt and maybe the fly could do double duty as a mayfly nymph. The corded body is a technique that can be used on numerous patterns.
To start, I’m going to go with a Lightning Strike JF2 jig hook. I’ll match this with a 7/64” slotted tungsten bead in gold. After using my bodkin to get the small hole centered between my fingertips, I’ll insert the point of the hook into that small hole and work the bead around onto the hook shank. Then I’ll get the assembly firmly secured in the jaws of my tying vise. Make sure the bead doesn’t have the longer squared off end of the slot pointing up, rather the shorter rounded end should be up.
For thread, I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of fluorescent green UTC 70 Denier. Cream and dark tan also look really good. Get your thread started at the back edge of the bead and take wraps right there, one on top of the other. Keep doing this until the bead stops jiggling around, like that. The thread wraps hold the bead in place and center it on the hook shank. Continue taking wraps a short distance down the shank before snipping the excess tag off close.
If you decide to add the tail, 8-10 Coq de Leon fibers work well. After stripping them free from the stem, align their butts to align their tips. With the fibers looking good, measure to form a tail a hook shank in length, and transfer that measurement rearward to the start of the hook bend. While holding that measurement, reach in with your tying scissors and snip the butt ends off even with the back edge of the bead. Continue taking wraps down the hook shank. Holding the fibers up at a slight angle will help to anchor them directly to the top of the shank as opposed to having them slip down either side. Advance your tying thread forward to just in front of the hook point.
I’ve added a little bit of wire to my plunger-style hackle pliers so I can hook a dubbing whirl to them. But you can simply spin the hackle pliers with your fingertips if you don’t have a whirl. Set both aside at the ready for the next step.
The body of the fly is created using hare’s ear-colored Antron dubbing. Take a really ample pinch of dubbing from the dispenser or packet. Pull down your bobbin to expose 5-6” of tying thread. Pull the fibers up from the clump of dubbing so they’re aligned with your tying thread then twist them on it to create a more than ample dubbing noodle. Start taking wraps with the noodle so the end of it begins right at the base of the tail. Make sure to take a complete wrap of dubbing around the hook shank. Then, give your bobbin a really good clockwise spin. You should notice that this will cord up the dubbing into a fairly thin rope. Pinch the thread at the bottom of the noodle and bring your bobbin up to the hook shank and secure the thread behind the bead. Once it’s secured, use your tying scissors to snip the noodle end of the thread off close.
Now comes the fun part. Attach your hackle pliers about 1/4” up the dubbing noodle so it’s gripping both the dubbing and the thread. Snip the excess thread and the very end of the noodle off so it doesn’t get in the way. If you have one, hook the dubbing whirl to your hackle pliers then give it a good clockwise spin. This should cord up the thread and the dubbing even further into a fine fuzzy rope. Remove the dubbing whirl but keep a good grip on the hackle pliers. You can then start taking wraps with the corded up noodle to form a very tight segmented looking body on the fly. Ideally the body should taper from thin in the back to thicker up by the bead. Other than the look, the really cool part of this technique is that you can simply anchor the noodle at this point and snip off the excess. In other words, you really can’t have too much dubbing.
Once you’ve got the noodle completely anchored, take a few more wraps of tying thread to build up a bright green area behind the bead to resemble the caddis larva peeking out of its case. Then, do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish, seat the knot well and snip or cut your tying thread free.
This fly is a real bottom dragger so it’s a good idea to apply a nice big drop of head cement, here Sally Hansen Hard as Nails, to the thread wraps behind the bead where it’ll sink in and keep everything secure.
I feel the corded Antron dubbing results in a wonderful lifelike look. Once you get the hang of this cording process you can crank out a whole bunch of flies in fairly short order. Also, don’t be afraid to use the procedure on other bugs as well.