Published Jul 11. 2023 - 9 months ago
Updated or edited Oct 12. 2023

Highlighter Caddis

The name of this fly is to be taken ad verbatim. You do need a highlighter pen to tie it

Highlighter Caddis
Highlighter Caddis
Nick Thomas
Body components
Body components
Nick Thomas

If you are familiar with caddis pupa imitations, then you may recognise the inspiration for this one. It’s an alternative embodiment of Juan Ramirez’s Kryptonite Caddis, tied not with coloured monofilament, but instead using hollow braid fly line backing and a fluorescent highlighter pen.

Why braid? It makes it easier to tie than the original pattern. Forming the multi-turn barrel knot for the detached body with monofilament can be difficult as the knot tends to seize up before it beds down neatly. Ramirez advises using soap for lubrication, but it can still be a tussle to get a neat knot. Slippery hollow monofilament braid by contrast is a breeze, the knot pulls up into neat turns as smooth as you like. The braid weave also adds some subtle internal structure to the body which enhances the imitation.

To make the body tie an overhand knot in a length of braid and then twist one or both ends through the loop until you have a total of twelve turns. Slowly pull the ends apart to form the barrel knot, adjusting the coils as you go until the knot is tight. Colour with a highlighter pen and then trim one end flush with the knot before coating with UV-resin. Set the resin and seal with a coat of varnish.

Highlighter Caddis
Pattern type: 
Nick Thomas
Fasna F-120 #14
Get Slotted 3mm black tungsten
12/0 black
Hollow braid fly line backing barrel knot coloured with fluorescent highlighter pen and coated with UV-resin
Olive partridge
Black vicuna dubbing and green SLF
Skill level/difficulty: 
  1. Run on the tying thread behind the bead and remove the tag end.
  2. Tie in the body by the braid at the end and trim off the waste.
  3. Form a small ball of dubbing at the base of the body, this will splay out the legs.
  4. Strip the fluff from the base of a partridge feather, push the tips of your scissors around the feather stem and snip off the tip leaving a V shape. Tie in with the feather barbs on either side of the dubbing ball.
  5. Dub up to the bead, smear the thread with varnish, whip finish and cut the thread.

A couple
A couple
Nick Thomas

Ramirez’s original fly got its name from the green glowing mineral in the Superman comic strips, however it doesn’t have to be green. Brown, yellow or any other fluorescent or normal marker pen can be used to colour the braid to give whatever colour caddis pupa you heart desires.

Glowing translucency
Glowing translucency
Nick Thomas

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