Poly Caddis (v2.0)
GB’s early 1970s synthetic take-off of the Elk Hair Caddis is one of my own go-to patterns. It not only looks right and fishes right, but the synthetic aspect allows enormous color/texture variation. And as any red-blooded fly-tying geek knows, being able to mess around with colors and textures is one of the best things about fly tying!
Well, after a mere 40 years, GB has updated the pattern to version 2.0, with massive changes. Okay, so “massive” may not be the right term. Let’s go with “miniscule, but slick.” Basically, he went to a reverse-tied wing that also incorporates hackle reinforcement. I am a fan of reverse-tied wings, as much for the looks as for anything (hey, I’m a artist-type, so I go for the visual as much as the functional). I like the v2.0 end result. Still very easy to tie, still looks right (better, actually), and you can still customize the thing ad infinitum.
So is it startling? Cutting edge? Brilliantly innovative? Not at all. Just a basic, old-school pattern with a slick little update that moves it a bit more into the modern era. Sometimes that’s all you really need….
If you like polypropylene-based caddis patterns, I suggest you also check out the Rackelhanen, a Swedish pattern that pre-dated the Poly Caddis by several years. I am also fond of the design of Boström and Bergqvist’s Streaking Caddis, although it is a deer-hair pattern, not poly (it happens to be on the same page as the Rackelhanen, but lower down).