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Parachute Cahill Variant

Last month, as part of our effort to keep this column to "basics" for awhile to see how that works in connection with the tying contest, we featured the Parachute Adams. Here we feature another easy pattern Ron Rabun's hatch imitator, a variant of the traditional "Light Cahill", tied originally in the Catskill form. This variation features a parachute wing and an off-color body, with a suggestive ribbing. This variant will suggest small summer caddis so plentiful around healthy streams, as well as summer evening hatches of light colored mayflies. In a pinch, it also can imitate the "little yellow Sally" we all know and love.


Hook Tiemco 100; Mustad 94840; Daiichi 1182; #14-18
Thread Light yellow 6/0 or 8/0
Tail Stiff cream spade hackle fibers
Wing Bleached Elk hair
Rib Pearl crystal hair (1 strand)
Body Light pink fine dubbing of choice
Hackle Stiff cream neck hackle


1. Smash barb, cover rear half of shank with thread.
2. Form a tiny ball of fine pink dubbing just above rear of barb. This will serve to "splay" tail fibers.
3. Cut or strip about a dozen fibers from a cream spade hackle, and measure them to length of shank, for the tail. Tie them on just ahead of the dubbing ball. When secure, wind thread back, forcing the fibers against the ball, causing them to "splay" out. This provides a good silhouette, and stability on the water.
4. Cover rest of shank with thread. Now cut and clean a small bunch of elk hair. Somewhere around 20-25 hairs will do.
5. Stack the hair, evening the tips. Measure it to length of shank, and tie it in at a point 1/3 of shank length behind the eye with the tips pointing out over the eye. When secure, trim butts and tie them down securely.
6. Grab wing by tips and pull rearward, standing it up. Take 3 winds in front of it, and wind around its base while pulling thread to rear and catching it in the remaining elk hair butts, about 4 times. This should stand wing up straight and permanent.
7. Return thread to base of tail and tie in crystal hair rib. Now dub a sparse, tapered body to base of wing. Rib body with 3 or 4 turns and tie off in front of wing.
8. Select appropriately sized hackle and tie it in with shiny side up and tip facing away from you. Tie in just behind wing, leaving about 1/8" of stem for first wind around the posted-up wing.
9. Dub a thorax of the pink dubbing in back and front of wing, leaving thread hanging in front of wing. Remember to keep 1/8" behind eye free of thread or material.
10. Grab tip of hackle with hackle pliers, and begin winding around the post. Take the first three winds up the post, and the rest down the post, each successive wind beneath the previous one.
11. Tie off hackle in front of wing. This step is tricky; it will be demonstrated at the October meeting from 7:00-7:30.
12. Form a nice whip finish with a small head.

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Copyright 1998 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted.