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Msmith14March 28th, 2012, 3:43 pm
Posts: 10
Hi I have been having trouble tying the elk hair on the back of the fly. It always twists around the fly when I am wip finishing it and it always is lose enough to be moved around the hook no matter how tight I tie in on. Can anyone help me with this problem?

TaxonMarch 28th, 2012, 5:05 pm
Site Editor
Royse City, TX

Posts: 1350
There are things which could be contributing to the problem you are experiencing:

1) not laying a thread base beneath the tie-down point,

2) not applying sufficient pinching pressure between your left thumb and forefinger to make sure the bunch of elk hair stays squarely and tightly atop the hook shank, and

3) not maintaining sufficiently steady thread tension during the entire tie-down process.

It is also important to apply cinching tension to each wrap, but not by pulling down on the on the back side of the hook. but rather, by pulling up on the front side of the hook. Although this is somewhat counter-intuitive, in my experience, it will help avoid the spinning result you are experiencing.

Another thing you might want to do, is to apply one or two half-hitches at the tie-down point, after taking the final tie-down wrap, to lessen the likelihood of your tie-down wraps loosing tension later.

Hope this helps,
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
ShantiMarch 28th, 2012, 5:07 pm

Posts: 95
Sounds like you are tying a quite bulky wing. Use less elkhair and make sure you have a good threadbase underneath.
If you want a thick wing, tie it in layers with an underwing and an over dito.
A small drop of varnish will secure things nicely.

I tie some of my elk hair caddis with an underwing of cdc.
Somewhere, right now, a fish is rising.
And youre at the computer..
OldredbarnMarch 29th, 2012, 10:03 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
I sometimes throw a couple wraps of thread behind or underneath the wing and this can help "lock" it in place...The older version would have you pulling up the butt ends of the elk and wrapping and finishing the fly off between the hook eye and the butts of the elk...Then trim the head to shape. This can secure them in place as well. So you would have wraps at your tie down area and then again in front of the trimmed head of the fly.

I agree with Roger & Joakim concerning bare vs thread wraps on hook shank and also not over doing it...Too much hair will just tip your fly over on its side.

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SofthackleMarch 29th, 2012, 8:08 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Some years back, after reading an article in Fly Fisherman, I started tying my Elk Hair Caddis reversing the hair, placing the hair tips at the head,the clipped butts toward the back. The butts can be clipped into a great wing shape, and the tips are a bit easier to tie on, because the tips are finer. It kind of resembles the famous Goddard Caddis, but retaining the effect of the original pattern.

By the way, all the other tips given are great!

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
WiflyfisherMarch 29th, 2012, 8:57 pm

Posts: 663
To add to the above comments, applying some good wax on the thread before and after can really help too. I am not talking the new waxes, but some of the older type waxes that have lots of grab. As others have said.. less is better when tying on the hair.
John S.
Msmith14April 1st, 2012, 1:10 pm
Posts: 10
Thanks, this helps a lot.
SayfuMarch 8th, 2013, 11:10 am
Posts: 560
AGH, the ol elkhair caddis super glue fly! :) All comments above definitely come from experienced tiers. I like to lift the butts in front of the wing, after making a number of wraps, and place a few wraps between the wing, and the eye feeling it pinches it in, and less likely to rotate.

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