The Solomon Hairwing Caddis, originated by Catskill tier Larry Solomon, can be tied over a range of sizes and colors to imitate a multitude of caddis species. Here, author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going to tie a ginger caddis on a TMC 100 size 16 dry fly hook.
For thread, Matt’s loaded a bobbin with a spool of pale yellow 6/0 Danville Flymaster. Start your thread on the hook about 1/3 of the way down the shank and take wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.
For the body of this particular imitation, Matt’s going to use a ginger colored rabbit fur blend but choose whatever color best matches the naturals. Use the dubbing to create about a 3 inch long, very thin noodle on your tying thread. Take wraps with the noodle so the back end of the body starts right above the hook point. Continue taking wraps till the body covers the rear 2/3rds of the hook shank. End with your tying thread just ahead of the initial tie-in point.
Natural colored coastal deer hair is used for the wing of the fly. Snip a small clump free from the hide. Strip out the fuzzies and shorts from the butt ends and then feed the clump, tips first, into your stacker. Give the clump a fairly robust stacking to align the hair tips. Open your stacker and remove the deer hair, doing your best to keep the tips aligned throughout the process. You want to end up holding the hair between the thumb and index finger of your right hand.
Measure to form a wing approximately 1 1/2 body lengths long. While keeping that measurement, re-grip the clump with the thumb and index finger of your left hand and make a loose collecting wrap with your tying thread. Then, pull straight up to compress the hair on top of the hook shank. Take a few more firm wraps of tying thread at the same location to really get the hair locked down. Sweep the butt ends up and back to expose the hook eye and take a few wraps around just the shank. Reach in with the tips of your tying scissors and snip the excess butt ends off at a shallow angle, like so. If there are any uncooperative, wayward hairs, now is a good time to snip them off close. Take a few more thread wraps over the butts and end with your thread just forward of the base of the wing.
For this fly, Matt’s using hackle in a color called golden straw, but again, select something that matches the naturals. Check to make sure the barbules are the correct length for the hook size, about 1 1/2 times the hook gap. Once you find a good feather, pull it free from the skin. Break or snip off the lower, webby portion of the feather then pull down and strip away an 1/8 inch or so of fibers from both sides of the stem. With the shiny side of the feather facing toward you, lay the bare stem against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to secure it, all the way back to the base of the wing. End with your tying thread just back from the hook eye. Get hold of the tip of the hackle feather with either hackle pliers or your fingers, and start taking touching wraps forward toward the hook eye, 4-5 turns is usually plenty. Pick up your tying thread and secure the hackle tip behind the eye with a few tight turns. Once it’s pinned down really well, use the tips of your tying scissors to snip the excess off close. You can then do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free.
If you like, trim the lower hackle fibers flush with the underside of the body to get the fly to ride right in the surface film. The Solomon Hairwing Caddis is a nice, easy pattern to tie that also is extremely versatile.