Tying the Bee Cee Caddis Pupa
Each summer a few fishing freinds and I make the annual fishing trip from our home town Skien in southern Norway to Lofsdalen in Sweden. A journey that under normal circumstances will take six hours driving, from door to door.
Lofsdalen is acctually known for two things, skiing and bears. During the winter, when the bears are sleeping, Lofsdalen is a Mecca for ski and snowboard enthusiasts and becomes a throbbing white metropolis of snow scooters, snow cats and ski lifts. But at the time of our annual trip, the first week of July, most of the snow, and all of the winter turists have long gone, and the bears along with the vast amounts of mosquitoes awake hungry from their long winter sleep.
The timing of our trip is not coincidental, with the help of the internet and telephone, 14 days before our trip we start a network of weather information between us. Sending web cam links weather forcasts and any other related info as to the conditions in Lofsdalen. Beacause each year around the first week of July ephemera vulgata can start hatching in fantastic numbers on these mountain lakes, and the big brown trout that have also spent a long winter, under the ice, are also hungry.
Yes, I know what you might be thinking, ephemera vulgata is a mayfly and this is a piece about caddis pupa ? well the past two years we havent managed to get our timing right, because of freak weather conditions, Lofsdalen is from 600 -1200m above sea level, and is subsiquently, subject to dramatic weather changes.
The back up plan, if you like, for not getting our mayfly timming right is the hatches of aeuropes largest caddis fly Phygania Grandis or great red sedge. These first hatches are not as proliphic as the vulagta hatches and no where near as challanging for the fly fisherman, but a emerging pupa fished correctly, just under the surface can result in fantastic sport.
A good caddis pupa pattern can make the difference between no fish and fish !
When the caddis fly hatches into the adult insect the species are more or less, divided into two. The ones that hatch at the surface in open water and the those that make there way to the shore, where they climb out on plants or any other structure that is available. When this occurs and caddis pupa are on the move this pattern fishes extremely well.
When fishing this pattern, I like to dress only the head and collar with a good floatant ie: cdc oil, this also creates a perfect air bubble around the head just like the natural, and only when the pattern has soaked a little water does it begin to fish correctly.
When the porus leather and dubbed underbody have taken on water and the head is dressed with floatant, this pattern sinks so slowly that it almost “hangs” just under the surface. I like to let it sink for
10-12 seconds or so, but you should keep alert during this “free fall”
period, as criusing fish will also pick this pattern up “on the drop”.
After the pupa has had time to sink I carefully mend the slack out of my fly lineand then lift the tip of my rod so that the pupa rushes towards the surface, this is when the take normally comes.
Decpite the multitude of families, sub families and species of caddis flies, the only thing you have to change is the colour and size, the pattern can remain the same.
Hook: Mustad C49SNP-BR curved caddis # 6 -14
Gills: Ostrich herl
Body: Fine leather strip (chamois)
Under body: Dubbing / Lead free wire if required
Legs: Partridge hackle & CDC
Collar/Head: Hares ear dubbing & CDC Dubbing
Run the tying thread along the hook shank deep into the hook bend as shown and tie in two long olive lengths of ostrich herl. Make sure that they are not damaged and have nice long fibres.
Cut a strip of chamois or fine tanned leather. This should be cut with a fine taper from 2mm to 3mm, with a very sharp craft knife or razor blade. I use a Peltex furries knife. This has interchangable razor blades. Tie this in at the tail of the hook. If you would like the pattern to be weighted you can now tie in some lead free wire, use this to build shape to the body.
Now you can use some dubbing to shape the under body as shown. This can be any old dubbing as long as it’s dubbed compact and tight. The colour dosen’t matter. Make sure that you don’t over build the dubbed body, as it will increase in diameter when the fine tanned leather strip is wound on.
Now move your tying thread forward to the eye of the hook.
Take the chamois and holding it tight pull it towards you and hold it there before you make the first turn around the hook. Now take one of the ostrich herl strips and loop this clockwise behind the strip of chamois as shown.
Now pull the herl down over the chamois strip.
Loop the herl around the back of the chamois strip and trap it there by tightning the strip around the hook shank, to make the first half of the first body segment.
Continue to wrap chamois strip around the hook making the loops with ostrich herl on both sides of the hook shank to form the segmented body. Take your time and make sure that each turn of chamois overlaps the previous one a little. Make sure that all the gills on both sides of the pupa follow the same lateral line along the side of the fly.
When you have coverd the whole body of the pupa tie off the herl and the strip.
The arial view of the finished body should look like this. Here you can see the ostrich herl gills running along each side.
Remove the short spikey gaurd hairs from a hares ear to make the dubbing.
Dub the collar with the hares ear dubbing.
Sellect a CDC hackle with long fibres.
Wind this in making sure that you comb back the fibres with each turn, to form the hanging legs of the caddis pupa.
Now you can prepare a partridge body hackle as shown.
Tie on and wind in the partridge hackle as illustrated.
If you think that when wrapping a present, you pull the ribbon between the blade of some scissors and your thumb to make it curl. Do the same but useing your thumb nail and index finger. This will curl the partridge hackle fibres as shown.
With a little more CDC dubbing cover the front of the head.
Tie off the tying thread.
Colour the head with a waterproof felt pen and varnish.
The finished Caddis pupa.