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Goddard Caddis Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Goddard Caddis
Standard dry-fly hook (here, a Dai-Riki 305), sizes 14.
Rusty brown, 6/0 or 70 denier.
Deer hair, flared and spun.
Brown hackle quill.
Brown dry-fly hackle.
Tying thread.
Long scissors.
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Video Transcript:

Just by looking at a Goddard Caddis you can tell it's going to float like a cork and this floatability allows it to be twitched, skated and waked on the water's surface which will oftentimes initiate a take. They can, however, be a bit fussy and time-consuming to tie. Hopefully the procedure shown here will help to ease some of the pain.

For a hook, I like the Dai-Riki #305 and rarely tie this pattern in anything but a size 14 as it just seems to work.

For thread I'm going to use 70 Denier Ultra thread in a rusty brown to match the color of the hackle. Start your thread at the halfway point on the hook shank and take wraps rearward before snipping off the tag. The front end of the thread will mark where the deer hair body should stop and the hackle should begin.

Although you can get by without it, just the smallest amount of Zap-a-Gap applied to the back end of the thread wraps will help to prevent a number of pitfalls often associated with this pattern.

You can use deer, elk or even caribou, but I believe primo strips of deer hair are a really good choice because of the straightness and length of the hair. They also come in a range of colors.

You'll find the amount of deer hair you use is extremely important and something you need to get a feel for on your own. As a rough guideline, for a size 14, start with a clump about a half a pencil's thickness in diameter and snip it free from the hide. Comb out the fuzzies from the butt ends and then snip them off square.

Place the clump on top of the hook shank so the butt ends reach to the front of the hook eye. Make two loose collecting wraps with your tying thread and, while holding the clump tightly between the thumb and index finger of your left hand, apply tension to the thread. Wiggle the clump of hair side to side to get it evenly dispersed around the hook shank. Take another wrap or two of tying thread and give the clump another little wiggle. Keep on adding wraps until the clump no longer moves. This means the Zap-a-Gap has set. Notice the deer hair really wasn't spun here, it was just flared around the hook shank. Because the Zap-a-Gap has everything locked in place, the clump can not be pushed down into the hook bend which is often a problem. Once again get hold of the deer hair and snip it to about a hook length. When you do this, don't let go of the remaining deer hair, keep it in your left hand. With your right hand, push the fibers rearward and then place the remainder of the deer hair on top of the hook shank and take a couple of thread wraps to compress and flare the hair. You'll notice here the hair is spinning as I'm taking wraps and this is what you want for this clump.

Use a hollow tube, like a half hitch tool or the end of some bodkins, to push the hair back to that halfway point on the hook shank then bring your thread all the way up to that point.

For the initial trimming, fairly long, high quality scissors with micro serrations are the way to go. All you're really trying to do is square off the sides, top and bottom. Once you have the lion's share of the material removed, switch back to your regular tying scissors for the final trimming. The idea is to trim the front part of the body into a cone shape, while leaving everything aft of the hook bend untrimmed for now. Take a few wraps of tying thread forward to make sure it's contacting bare hook shank.

The remainder of the pattern uses both hackles and quills from a dry fly neck. The better hackle you use, the happier you'll be with the results. For the antennae, pluck one of the longer feathers from the back of the neck. Strip the hackle fibers off to leave just a bare stem. Double the tip end of the stem over to form a loop and then tie it in on top of the hook shank. Take wraps of tying thread forward to secure the quill but leave some space on the hook shank behind the eye. Then take nice even wraps rearward to the deer hair. It's important to keep this area smooth and even so your hackle will wrap correctly. Finally, snip the remainder of the quill off close.

Select a single appropriately sized hackle feather and pluck it from the neck. It's always a good idea to double check the size on a hackle gauge. You can see here these are right in the middle of the size 14 range. Here's where things get a little different. With the dull or back side of the hackle feather facing you, strip any webby fibers free from the stem and leave a good 1/4 inch of more of exposed stem showing. Then strip another 1/4 inch or so of fibers off just the top of the stem. It should look something like this. With the dull side still facing you, place the bare stem against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to secure it. Ideally, the butt end should land right at the return of the hook eye. As before, take nice even thread wraps all the way back to the deer hair.

Fold the hackle forward so the remaining bare stem lays on top of the hook shank, then carefully take thread wraps to hold it there. Continue with smooth wraps all the way back once again. With this even foundation formed, bend the hackle back and then start making adjacent wraps around the hook shank. You can see how that extra bit of bare stem insures the hackle wraps correctly. The dull side should be facing forward. Keep taking wraps rearward trying to make each wrap butt right up against the previous one. The smoother the foundation, the easier this is to do. When you reach the deer hair, pull the hackle feather to vertical, and give your thread bobbin a clockwise spin to cord up and decrease the diameter of your tying thread. Make three tight wraps to absolutely secure the hackle. Pull the hackle feather down and back and begin zig-zagging your thread forward through the hackle fibers. The closer your wraps are together, the less likely you are to trap fibers. When you reach the hook eye, take a few wraps around the hook shank to secure your tying thread and follow this up with a 4 or 5 turn whip finish, trying your best not to track hackle fibers in the process. You can then snip or cut your tying thread free.

Snip the loop to form 2 antennae and then trim them off even. Give the remaining hackle tip a quick snap forward to break it off close.

Now for the final trimming which is easiest done with the fly removed from the vise. Begin by getting hold of the fly like so. Snip the butt ends off at an angle and then make another small reverse angle cut.

The final fly should look something like this. Until you get used to tying them, Goddard Caddis can be a bit time consuming but once you get the hang of it, they're almost addictive to tie. Each one is slightly different and you always think you can do just a little better on the next one. It doesn't really matter though, they'll all catch trout.