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Olive X-Caddis Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Olive X-Caddis
Standard dry-fly hook (e.g. Dai-Riki #305), sizes 12-16.
Olive, 6/0.
Olive Zelon.
Olive dubbing (rabbit/Antron blend).
Natural deer hair, cleaned and stacked.
Deer-hair butts.
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Video Transcript:

The X-Caddis is the brainchild of Craig Mathews from Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana. It's a simple and effective caddis pattern that's relatively easy to tie, even in small sizes. Here, Matt Grobert, fly tier, author and host of the blog "Caddis Chronicles" is going to tie an olive X-Caddis on a size 16 Dai-Riki #305 dry fly hook.

For thread, he loads a bobbin with 6/0 Olive Danville. Start your thread 1/3rd of the way down the hook shank and take wraps down to about the hook point.

For the trailing shuck, Matt snips a strand of olive Zelon from the hank. This single strand can be used to create numerous flies. Tie in the Zelon so it covers the rear 2/3rds of the hook shank. Secure it with thread wraps all the way back to the bend. Cut the Zelon off to form a shuck a little less than a hook shank in length.

For the body of the fly, Matt's going to use an olive rabbit and antron dubbing blend. Once you get a dubbing noodle established on your tying thread, start taking wraps so the dubbing starts right at the base of the shuck. A rough, shaggy appearance to the body is a good thing.

Naturally colored deer hair is used for the wing on an X-Caddis. Snip a small clump free from the hide, strip out the shorts and the accompanying fuzzies from the butt ends and adjust the size of the clump if needed. Next, use a hair stacker to even the tips. Being careful to keep the tips aligned, measure the clump to form a wing that extends just a bit longer than the body of the fly.

While pinching the deer hair with the thumb and index finger of your left hand, make 2 loose wraps of tying thread and after the second, pull straight up to flare the deer hair. Continue taking tighter and tighter wraps, really working the thread down into the deer hair. Once it's secure, pull the butts up and back to expose the hook eye and then take thread wraps just behind the eye. These should help to hold the deer hair back a little bit. You can then once again pull the hair back and do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free.

To finish the fly, lift the butt ends of the deer hair up and forward and snip them off close. If you need to, snip the head to shape. Try the X-Caddis in different colors and sizes to match the naturals. It's just an all around great pattern.