This is a take-off on the old X-caddis with a couple of changes. If I am tying a larger “fat” caddis mainly for use on the upper river or large water in general, I like to use the heaviest hook I can get away with, in this case the old Mustad 3906 3X heavy, size 12. It is a wet fly hook, but the pattern is so bushy with deer hair I’m not worried about it sinking too quickly. And I like the idea of a hook that will absolutely not open up fighting a fish in heavy current. Also, using a heavier hook will float the fly flush in the surface film offering a more “emerging cripple” look. I use my thumb and finger to flatten the fly using floatant.
Luckily, I have a good supply of new, old stock 3906 hooks which are discontinued. Mustad has replaced it with the S82-3906B which is more of a leech, small streamer hook in my opinion. This pattern can also be tied on the popular Tiemco 100 SP-BL or your favorite dry fly hook.
Hook…Mustad 3906 (mashed barb) or Tiemco 100 SP-BL #12, #14
Shuck…Z-Lon, dark olive
Body…Antron dubbing, medium olive
Wing…Mule deer flank hair, stacked, spun, clipped. Choose your hair wisely…make sure the tips are intact and not broken. Try to find lighter shades for visibility. Pick or rake out all the fluff and fuzz. Use a good stacker.
Thread…Veevus G01 50D, black (good stuff…strong…no more broken thread in the middle of your tie).
A word about deer or elk hair for tying flies: if you harvest your own, dragging the animal out over ice, rocks, deadfall, bare ground will ruin the hair, break the tips, and render the hide pretty much useless. If you are forced to drag it, skin out the prime section of the flank fur before dragging. The flanks contain the best hair for stacking and spinning, featuring the long, straight fibers with the dark tips we covet!