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Blog > Fly Tying > Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis

Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/10/2011 (6725 reads)
By Matt Kern (mkern)

greg"I created this fly for a few reasons. Mainly because I never seemed to catch fish on caddis, but I knew how abundant they were in most streams. I heard people rave about LaFontaine’s Sparkle Pupa all the time, but didn’t really like the fly itself. I read/heard how the antron formed a bubble much like the natural as the fly ascends to the surface to hatch. I definitely wanted to recreate that bubble on the caddis pupa, but try and be a little more “realistic” (well as realistic as feathers and fur can get.) So I decided to create my own version.

Little did I know that the material that I selected to represent the bubble (the vinyl tubing) would do more than look like trapped air. It also acts like a bumper on a car. It allows the fly to bounce along the bottom, but there is a better feature yet… The softness of the tubing gives the angler another second to set the hook. The tubing is soft and the fish tend to chew it longer, or not reject it as soon.

I almost always use one of these flies in a tandem rig. It can have a bunch of weight to get the rest of the flies down and catches fish every outing for me. I will say, in the “non-peek” caddis seasons I tend to hook smaller fish, but the opposite is true in early Spring and in the Fall. The color scheme I show here is not the only one. You can tie many variations as well, like yellow-bellied, tan-bellied, cream-bellied, etc. There is also very little wasted materials with this fly. This is a fly I like to use year round.

Matt started fly tying and fishing about 10 years ago. He has worked at E. Hille's back in 2006 - 2007 as a custom fly tyer and rod builder. Matt offers a fly tying club at the school where he teaches. Materials
Hook: Size 10 – 14 Caddis Curve Hook
Thread: Black
Weight: .015 lead wire
Underbody: Lime Green Floss (colored on top with olive marker)
Segmentation: Standard Clear Vinyl Tubing
Wing Buds: Brown Goose Biots
Thorax: Peacock
Legs and Antennae: Brown Partridge

Step 1
Secure the hook in the vise.
Wrap the hook with the black thread.
Add the lead in strips; one on each side of the hook and a third on top of one of the side pieces.
This allows a space for the vinyl tubing to lay and not create any bumps later.
caddis fly

Step 2
Secure the vinyl tubing in the channel created.
caddis fly

Step 3
Tie in lime green floss.
I double the floss over to make wrapping and controlling the materials easier.
caddis fly

Step 4
Wrap the floss forward.
It may take a couple layers, but you want a smooth tapered body. This allows the tubing to lie without bumps or gaps.

Step 5
Color just the top of the floss with a dark olive marker.
You may have to just dab the top because the marker will run/bleed to the bottom.

Step 6
Here’s the fly with the darker top.

Step 7
Wrap the tubing forward.
Pull the tubing tight while wrapping.

Step 8
Tie in two brown goose biots by the points.

Step 9
Fold the biots over to form the wing buds.
You may need a bodkin to help you fold them.
(view from the top of the fly)

Step 10
Tie in a couple peacock fibers.
As you can see, I have already formed the head of the fly. This keeps a lot of the materials from sliding to the eye. It forms a well for everything to fall in to if there is a problem.

Step 11
Take a couple turns of the peacock.
To keep in from separating, twist it in your fingers.

Step 12
Strip the fluffy parts from a brown partridge feather.
Stroke back the fibers of the feather and tie in. You want the shiny side to face forward.
Selecting a feather with the right length fibers in key.

Step 13
Take a turn or two of the partridge.
Using hackle pliers helps.
Pull the fibers back and hold in place. Wrap the thread in front to angle the fibers back.

Step 14
Tie in the left-over peacock from the back half of the thorax.
Wrap a couple turns pushing the partridge back.
Finish forming the head, whip finish and apply head cement.
You can adjust the wing buds and legs as you see fit.
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Author Thread
Published: 2011/1/10 10:27  Updated: 2011/1/10 10:27
Joined: 10/18/2006
From: Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Comments: 366
 Re: Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis
Very nice fly. I like the looks of it and will probably tie a few myself. I have been messing with a few caddis patterns the last few years and also can't find one that I'm too happy with. Everyone claims fame to lafontaine, but I just have never been too successful with it. Hopefully this pattern will help me out.

Published: 2011/1/10 13:09  Updated: 2011/1/10 13:09
Joined: 05/30/2010
From: Spring Grove, Pa
Comments: 5
 Re: Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis
Think I will be giving this one a try also
Published: 2011/1/10 17:47  Updated: 2011/1/10 17:47
Joined: 01/02/2007
From: Bozeman
Comments: 53
 Re: Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis
Tying the head in before wrapping the peacock is brilliant.
Published: 2011/1/10 18:07  Updated: 2011/1/10 18:07
Joined: 09/13/2006
From: SW PA
Comments: 24
 Re: Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis
Well Done!! Nice pattern will definitely be giving those a try this spring.

Published: 2011/1/10 20:58  Updated: 2011/1/10 20:58
Joined: 10/11/2009
From: Southeastern Pa
Comments: 228
 Re: Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis
I have to save this one for when I learn how to tie. that looks like a fly that would absolutely kill on the tully for an emerald caddis. Can I order some?
Published: 2011/1/11 10:27  Updated: 2011/1/11 10:27
Joined: 10/18/2006
From: Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Comments: 366
 Re: Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis
What kind of floss do you use? I went to the craft store looking for some yesterday and the "floss" I found was just thinner yarn. I'm assuming it is something similar to dental floss in texture?
Published: 2011/1/11 11:05  Updated: 2011/1/11 11:05
Joined: 09/11/2006
From: Reedsville
Comments: 403
 Re: Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis

I got it in a spool mixture from cabelas when I first started tying. It has floss, wire, tinsel, and poly yarn.

I think uni brand has a product called uni-floss.

It is flat and made up of tiny strands of fiber. I think most threads would work, but this builds up faster and has better color imo.

Many materials will work, and I'm sure you have plenty of stuff around that will substitute (yarn, thread, etc.). I like the very bright stuff though. More drab colors don't show the contrast with the mark as well.
Published: 2011/1/11 11:05  Updated: 2011/1/11 11:05
Joined: 09/09/2006
From: Gettysburg
Comments: 439
 Re: Fly of the Month: The Bubble Caddis
Very nice. I like it.

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