Mike and Sheralee Lawson named the Hemingway Caddis after Jack Hemingway. It seems Mike and Sheralee came up with this pattern and Mr. Hemingway took a liking to it, so they named it for him. This diminutive tent wing pattern is an underused favorite of mine. I have to admit; I originally started tying this pattern to use up some of the larger blue dun neck hackle I had lying around after tying several orders of small Parachute Blue Wing Olive patterns. It is a great use for this material and an outstanding caddis pattern as it turns out.
The Hemingway Caddis has an extremely realistic narrow wing profile, is heavily hackled for good skittering and its charcoal color tone matches many real caddis. This is an excellent pattern to pull out when you have a late evening caddis hatch coming off. The darker color really shows up well in flat light and the profile is a dead-on match.
Be sure to spray the goose wing feathers with a clear fixative (available at the hardware store) before tying the fly. Preen the feathers out straight from the quill so they have no curve to them and then spray the feather front and back with fixative. Do this outside, as the fumes from the spray are quite strong and be sure to let the feathers dry completely before tying with them.
Hook: TMC 100 #12-22
Thread: UNI 8/0 Black
Rib: Extra Fine Copper Wire
Abdomen: Gray Beaver Dubbing
Body Hackle: Dark Dun Rooster Neck
Underwing: Barred Wood Duck Flank
Overwing: Canada Goose Secondary Quill, sprayed with fixative
Hackle: Dark Dun Rooster Neck
Start the thread at the seventy-five percent point and wrap a thread base back to the bend.
Return the thread to the seventy-five percent point and tie in a six-inch length of extra fine copper wire. Wrap back over the wire to the bend of the hook.
Dub a tapered abdomen from the bend to the sixty-five percent point.
Select a dark dun hackle feather that has barbs equal to one and a half hook gap widths. Prepare and tie in the hackle at the front edge of the abdomen, with the inside of the feather toward the hook shank.
Palmer (spiral) wrap the hackle back to the bend of the hook with six or seven evenly spaced turns.
Catch the tip of the hackle feather with the wire at the bend and continue wrapping the wire forward through the hackle, again, in evenly spaced turns. Tie the wire off at the front of the body and break off the excess. Break the tip of the hackle feather off as well with a sharp jerk toward the front of the hook.
Build a thread base from the front edge of the body to the back of the index point and back again to the front of the body.
Trim the hackle flush across the top and upper sides of the dubbed body, leaving only the hackle on the lower half of the hook.
Select a wood duck flank feather that has tips that are square. Strip the fluff from the bottom of the feather.
Roll the wood duck feather into a clump and measure it against the hook so it is equal in length to that of the hook itself.
Tie the flank feather in at the front edge of the body so it flares over the top. Clip the butt ends off flush. Leave the thread hanging at the front edge of the body.
Cut a slip of Canada goose quill from the feather that is about one and a half times as wide as the gap of the hook. The whole feather should first be sprayed with a clear fixative to prevent the fibers from separating during the winging process. Cut the tip end of the feather off square. The tip end will become the loose end of the wing.
Fold the feather in half lengthwise as shown.
Make an angled cut from the bottom of the wing up to the fold in the top forming the V-shape shown.
Place the shaped slip over the top of the body with the base of the V even with the end of the body/bend of the hook.
Fold the shaped slip over the top of the fly with the pointed tips extending to just past the hook bend.
Make two loose turns of thread over the quill slip at the front edge of the body. These turns should have NO tension on them at first.
Hold the wing in place with your material hand and tighten the thread. The wing assembly should cup around the body of the fly as shown.
Split the butt ends of the wing slip that are sticking out over the hook eye with the tips of your scissors. This will make it easier to trim the butts off flush against the hook. Go ahead and cut them off now and build a smooth thread base over the stub ends.
Select another dark dun hackle feather that has fibers equal to one and a half hook gap widths. Prepare the feather butt by stripping a few fibers from the base and tie it in at the front edge of the wing. Leave the thread hanging at the front of the wing as well.
Start wrapping the feather forward, behind the hanging thread, in tight concentric turns. The hanging thread will keep the hackle from sliding forward as you wrap.
Wrap the hackle all the way forward to the back edge of the index point. Tie off the hackle and clip the excess.
Form a smooth, neat head and whip finish.
Finished fly, top view. Note the length of the wood duck underwing.
Finished fly, bottom view. Notice the thin body and narrow wing profile.