At the Bench: X-Caddis

As I wrote before, Tim Cammisa’s X-Caddis has been gold for me.

When fish are looking up, this is a great fly. It sits low in the water and looks vulnerable. Moreover, it is fun to fish, as rises for Caddis tend to be exuberant. When I hear fish rising noisily, my guess is that they’re chasing emerging Caddis, which tend to swim quickly to the surface film.

I tie these small in sizes 18 and 20. I use the Orvis Tactical dry fly hook, which is barbless and has a point turned upward. These days, I’m using dark-dun CDC for an underwing and light-olive dubbing for the body. A shuck of brown Z-Lon completes the look.

I now also rotate the vise when I’m done to see the fly’s bottom. This is what the trout see. I usually have to adjust slightly some of the elk hair fibers.

On Saturday’s outing, this fly, both drifted up top and skittered, accounted for over a dozen brookies. At the end of a drift, you also can pulse it, to make it bob up and down. Sometimes, the fish cannot resist that movement.

The X-Caddis is a simple tie that really produces.


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5 thoughts on “At the Bench: X-Caddis

  1. Your underwing looks pretty tidy for CDC. Do you tie in stripped fibers, or the tips of the feather? Do you also pinch off the tips of the tied in fibers to even them up?

    1. I do both.

      I use a CDC feather and pull it until the tips are flush. I do so for multiple flies until I get to the thick part of the stem. Then, I pluck the remaining fibers and use a dubbing clip to insert them into split and waxed thread, pinching off the very long fibers. That doesn’t work well on size 20s, though, as there’s not much room on the hook.

      So, I save those pieces until I tie other flies that are bigger. I have a small plastic bag filled with half-used feathers. I bought a three-gram box of CDC feathers ($9.95 for hundreds of feathers), which dramatically lowers the cost when compared to a bag of 24 feathers for $3.95. But, I don’t like wasting materials.

      As a side note, you can put on a CDC-only body. Attach the feather. Twist it and then wrap around the hook. I don’t do this often, but it does add a look that has a lot of movement. I prefer a light-olive body, though, as when I stomach-pump some fish in the early summer, they’re often full of light-olive Caddis pupae. I think that color is a strike trigger during other times of the year, too.

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