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BPS Spent Caddis Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: BPS Spent Caddis
Standard dry-fly hook (here, a Dai-Riki #300), sizes 14-18
Black, 8/0 or 70-denier
Peacock herl
Tan short/fine deer hair or elk hair, cleaned and stacked
Head cement
Show / Hide BPS Spent Caddis Transcript

Video Transcript:

This is the BPS Spent Caddis. From what I’ve found, it was designed by a California fly tier Dennis Komatsu but beyond that I’ve had difficulty obtaining information about the pattern. I do know that a good friend of mine, Jim Holland, one of the owners of Shannon’s Fly & Tackle in Califon, New Jersey, is a huge fan of the fly and has used it to out-fish me on many an evening. It doesn’t float especially high on the water, making it a bit difficult to see, but it seems when trout are feeding on spent caddis, they’ll often shun high-riding flies, making this one just the ticket.

For a hook, I’m going to use a Dai-Riki #300 in a size 14 but it’s a good idea to have 16’s and 18’s as well. Start by mashing the barb and getting the hook firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise.

For thread, I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of black UTC 70 Denier. Start your thread 1/4 of the way down the hook shank and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.

Peacock herl is used to form the body of the fly. On this size 14 hook, 3 herls is about right. Break an inch or so of their brittle tips off before you tie them in. Lay the herls on top of the hook shank at the tie-in point and take thread wraps rearward to secure them all the way back to the start of the bend. Then, begin making touching wraps with the herls up the shank but behind your tying thread. Tension from the thread will help keep the herls together to form a nice, even, full body. Stop taking wraps with the herl, leaving a full eye-length or two space behind the hook eye. Firmly anchor the peacock with wraps of tying thread and then snip or break the excess butt ends off close.

The spent wings of the fly can be made from either elk or short, fine deer hair. Tan is a good middle-of-the-road color choice, but use something to more closely match the naturals, if you like. Snip a small clump free from the hide. Strip out the fuzzies and shorts from the butt ends and then place the clump tips first into your stacker and give the hair a good stacking. Carefully remove the hair by the aligned tips and then transfer the clump to the thumb and index finger of your right hand. Measure so the hair tips extend halfway between the end of the body and the hook bend. Using the front edge of the hook eye as a guide, snip the butt ends off square and then gingerly move the clump a little ways rearward so the snipped butt ends are in line with the back edge of the eye. Take 2 fairly loose collecting wraps around the hook and the hair and then pull straight down. Take another couple wraps under tension while still squeezing the bundle with the fingertips of your left hand. Then release your grip. Take thread wraps and push the bundle all the way around the hook shank, for one complete revolution. You’re basically allowing the hair to do what it wants to do naturally, but at the same time, that one revolution really helps to stop the wings from spinning around the hook shank on the finished fly. Yes, this technique works great on basic Elk Hair Caddis too.

With the hair pretty much locked in place, separate the clump into two equal halves and start making figure eight wraps to further define and splay the wings. Once satisfied with their orientation, pick up your whip finish tool and complete a nice, tight 4-5 turn whip finish. When you’re done, you can snip or cut your tying thread free. Even though the wings are locked down quite well, an ample drop of head cement, in this case Hard as Nails, applied to the exposed thread wraps provides some added insurance when it comes to the wings wanting to spin around.

I guess I’m a slow learner because it’s taken me the better part of a year of watching Jimmy catch fish after fish on the BPS Spent Caddis to begin to recognize its merits. My advice to you, is to not wait that long.