Published Mar 9. 2024 - 1 month ago
Updated or edited Mar 9. 2024

Mini Headbanger

A scaled-down version of the author’s own Headbanger Caddis, a cased nymph caddis pattern

Mini Headbanger
Mini Headbanger
Nick THomas

This is a scaled down version of my Headbanger Cased Caddis. It’s tied using the same principle with a tungsten bead attached at the bend of the hook on a length of monofilament. The original Headbanger has a slotted tungsten bead knotted onto a piece of green monofilament to imitate the caddis head and body. It was designed for fishing the Taff and other post-industrial rivers of south Wales for grayling in the winter when heavy flies are needed to get down to the riverbed in the deep runs.

Jig hooks, which are the standard for heavy winter flies with large tungsten beads, do not provide much space to build a realistically proportioned cased caddis. The Headbanger is tied on a conventional long shank hook with the tungsten bead as the head of the caddis larva. This produces an imitation with a long case with the weight positioned to make the fly fish point up as it trundles over the gravel.

Normal and Mini
Normal and Mini
Nick THomas

The Mini Headbanger is designed for fishing not on big deep rivers in the winter, but for small shallow streams in the summer. With a tiny 1.5mm tungsten bead on a piece of melted black monofilament it’s for casting not lobbing and drifts rather than plummets.

Mini Headbanger
Mini Headbanger
Nick THomas
Mini Headbanger
Pattern type: 
Nick THomas

A small cased caddis nymph

Fasna F-300 #14/16
12/0 black
Head and body
Get Slotted 1.5mm chartreuse tungsten bead on melted black 12lb Amnesia
Olive partridge hackle
Semperfli olive dirty bug yarn
Skill level/difficulty: 
  1. Cut a length of monofilament and slowly melt near a flame to form a round blob at the end.
  2. Poke the other end into a pack of beads, pick one up and slide down to the melted end.
  3. Run on the tying thread at the hook eye and take down to the bend in touching turns.
  4. Tie in the monofilament on top of the shank with the bead against the hook bend, bind down up to the eye and remove the waste end.
  5. Remove the fluff from the base of a partridge feather and snip out the tip to form a V.
  6. Tie in with the fibres on either side of the bead and remove the waste.
  7. Separate the yarn into two strands, tie in one against the legs and wind up to the hook eye.
  8. Tie in the yarn, remove the waste, whip finish and varnish the thread turns.

Lower Taff
Lower Taff
Nick THomas
Upland summer stream
Upland summer stream
Nick THomas


domel's picture

Nice fly :-)...


Nice fly :-)
I love the simple patterns - they are quick for tying, effective on the water and look nicely.
Good job.


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