Deer Hair Caddis – 02/16/2015

Last winter I sorted through my four canisters of damaged and unraveling flies and consolidated all the caddis into one container. As I resumed my off season tying in October, I placed the plastic caddis cylinder on the counter top, and it remained there as I worked my way through nymphs, terrestrials, attractors and mayflies. Last week I completed the green drake inventory, so I dumped the clump of bedraggled caddis on to my magnet.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Damaged and Unraveling Caddis Flies” type=”image” alt=”IMG_0869.JPG” ]

I separated the flies into four piles by body color, and I discovered peacock, olive hares ear, gray, and light yellow. In excess of forty mostly size 16 flies were arranged on my fly tying counter top, so I began the process of rescuing them from a date with the landfill. I began with the peacock and quickly completed five.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”A Neater Head on This One” type=”image” alt=”IMG_0872.JPG” ]

For the most part the misfit flies exhibited unraveling thread in the head area, possessed cut hackles, or suffered from hair loss. In a few cases I could reattach my thread and simply tie a new whip finish knot to lock up the loose thread, but the prevalent situation called for replacement of the hackle and deer hair wing. In these instances I used my X-Acto knife to slice through the thread head and the hackle tie down point. I simply removed the thread and hackle waste along with any remaining deer hair and reattached my thread in front of the dubbed abdomen.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”A Closer Look” type=”image” alt=”IMG_0875.JPG” ]

I essentially saved forty dubbed hooks, and I was only required to complete the final two steps of the tying process. The resulting finished flies look nearly new, and I transferred five peacock, twenty olive hares ear, ten gray, and five light yellow caddis to my Montana Fly Company boat box. At this point I estimate that I have enough of the various body color caddis to take me through 2015, and I did not have to tie any new versions from beginning to end. Recycling has never been more fun.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”A Group of Gray Rehabilitated Deer Hair Caddis” type=”image” alt=”IMG_0878.JPG” ]

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