February 2013

Scraphackle Caddis

Jerry Grehl

Scraphackle Caddis #1

Scraphackle Caddis #2
Hook: Mustad 3906, 9671, or equivalent, size 12 or smaller
Rib: Black wire, small or medium
Abdomen: Floss, color to match natural (olive, green, gray, orange, etc.)
Thorax: Dark brown dubbing
Hackle: Grouse or partridge hackle, tied per instructions
Collar: Black ostrich plume fibre
Antennae: Two wood-duck barbules
Bead: Gold tungsten or glass colored bead
Tying Instructions and Pattern History:
Tying Instructions:
  1. Attach bead
  2. Tie in rib just after hook bend
  3. Taper abdomen-floss 3/4 up the hook shank clock-wise, wind rib counter clock-wise, creating segmented look
  4. Dub fur for thorax, more full than abdomen
  5. Trim center of grouse hackle, a little more than desired hackle length, attach stem at hook eye: pull back on stem until point of trim passes thread
  6. Wind thread back to front of thorax, fold back hackle, twisting it to rotate around hook, secure with thread--examine to see if hackle is not bunched up; re-do if necessary
  7. Attach antennae, which should be much longer than hackle
  8. Finish with ostrich plume collar behind hook eye

My FOTM is more a generic means of using grouse and partridge hackle that is normally unused, except for beards on wet flies, laquered wing cases, or nymph legs. We all buy bags of loose grouse hackle, then frantically search for the right size. It becomes more difficult the smaller the hook size. It takes a little practice to get the hackle to rotate evenly, but the results are worth it.

Pennsylvania's Pine Creek begins near Wellsboro in North-Central PA, and courses its way southeast to its confluence with the Susquehanna west of Williamsport. On its way it picks up important tributaries like tumbling Slate Run and Cedar Creek, important fisheries in their own right. Below Waterville it is more a river than a creek, and more smallmouth-walleye fishery than trout. It is basically a put and take fishery, but big holdovers can strain a rod. One of my favorite places to stay was the long gone Gibson hotel located on its banks--a typical Pennsylvania country hotel with shared bathrooms, small bar, and wonderful food served home style by friends long gone but not forgotten. Upstream from the tiny village of Cammal, home of the Wagon Wheel Tavern, was a great stretch of water where the Brachycentrus caddis hatch in early May would eclipse the celebrated Hendrickson and Quill Gordon hatches. Two dozen fly-rodders would take their posts along this run, keeping a cast away from each other. I hiked to the head of the rip, where there were several bait fishermen, all in the process of getting skunked. By 1970 I had learned the secrets of the grouse hackle wet fly, cast across and drifted downstream during a caddis hatch. "Try your fly pole over here, buddy! They're really jumpin!" a local wag said. After hooking about a dozen and creeling a few I waded to the shore. "Man, I'm gettin' me one of them fly poles!" the local said. "Good idea, my friend, good idea!" I replied, as I headed to the Wagon Wheel to exchange lies.

Photographs ©2013 by Marv Slind