Fly Patterns - Shambles Caddis

                 Shambles Caddis


This pattern is a variation of an old standard, the Elk Hair Caddis. It’s quite simple and can be modified easily in size and color to suit your needs. I call it the “shambles” caddis because after a few fish it looks like a shaggy mess.

Who cares? It just keeps on producing fish. All you have to do is wash off the fish slime, squeeze the water out of it, powder it up, and return it to service. It floats like a cork and trout won’t leave it alone. My favorite body color is a creamy yellow, but I also carry them in olive, tan, and black.

Tying Instructions

1.       Crimp the hook barb and cover the hook shank with a layer of thread.

2.       Tie in a sparse tail of fine deer hair; wrap the butts of the hair down tightly. I don’t stack the hair. The tail should be approximately 2/3 of the shank in length.



3.       At the same tie-in point, tie in a small tan or dun rooster neck hackle; the barbules should be no longer than the gape of the hook.

4.       Dub a thin body with fine creamy yellow dubbing. The dubbing should cover the rear 2/3 of the hook.

5.       Wrap the hackle forward, using 5 or 6 turns; tie it off at the front end of the dubbing.

6.       Cut a bunch of deer hair from the hide and clean out the underfur. The bunch should be approximately half the diameter of a pencil. Measure it so that it will reach the back of the hook bend. Clip the butts evenly and tie the hair in firmly just ahead of the abdomen. Leave a small tuft of the butts (just like the Elk Hair Caddis). Whip finish in front of the butts. Turn the fly over and place a small drop of super glue on the underside, where the hair wing was tied in.


Tying Tips

1.       As mentioned above, I don’t stack the hair for the tail or the wing. I prefer the slightly irregular profile of the hair wing, as it seems to look more natural.

2.       Select short, fine hair for the tail, and longer, slightly coarser hair for the wing. The wing should flare to some extent, but not too much.

Now go tie one and then go fish it, and…




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