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.
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.
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.
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.