Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Some call them Bottom Dredgers. They are too often over shadowed by the dry fly, but have their place here.
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catskilljohn
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Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by catskilljohn » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:15 pm

My buddy named this fly for good after he tried them on our local stream (that he felt didn’t hold trout!) and was sold.

Nothing more than a hares ear variation, but I feel the wingcase partially hiding the bead makes it less flashy while still having the positive attributes of a bead for getting it down quickly.

Like me, he feels that the quicker a fly sinks, the sooner it’s in “the zone” and the easier it is to feel it.

I make these in 12-18, but almost always have a size12 on. By varying the weight with lead sub, and using different shades of hares ear blend it will cover any nymph on freestone streams all year.

I always use red thread for the same reason the Chadwick’s 477 yarn tyed killer bug uses copper wire....when the fly gets wet it shows through. I’m convinced this is the reason I have luck with it.

The materials used are simple, easy to acquire and there are no tricky steps or techniques, it’s just a hares ear! The perfect “guide fly” as it’s both cheap and fast to make. I kicked around using tungsten beads, but found it’s actually more cost affective to use brass, if you are looking to save a little. The price of brass and lead sub is cheaper than tungsten alone, and I like the bulk in the thorax area.
Here are the materials....
Thread, red....always red.
Hook, daiichi 1180
Tail, hung. Partridge
Dubbing, hares ear
Wingcase, golden pheasant center tail
Brass 1/8 bead and lead sub, .015
Epoxy, loon thick uv clear

I like to wrap the lead from the middle of the hook forward and then back, not jamming it against the bead. You want to allow for the bead to move a tiny bit back to leave room for the wingcase to be tyed down tightly.
I taper with thread behind the lead sub, just for a nicer transition.
After the tail is tyed in, make a loop around 2 inches long and bind it down, this will be the rib, simply doubled thread.
Dub the thread and wind it forward to the middle of the hook, then counter rib with the doubled thread.
Tye in the wingcase in the middle of the hook, dub the thread again and starting behind the bead, wrap backwards and over the wingcase till the dubbing is used up, then go over and across the bead, and put a wrap or 2 behind the eye.
Bring the wingcase over and tightly bind it down, lift the tag ends of the wingcase and whip finish behind the eye.

Put as thin a coat as possible on the wingcase, wave the light over it and your done. I found that if the finish is too heavy, it can fog over and break off. No big deal, as you can fish it without the clear finish too.

You can sub out the GP tail for anything, my buddy used ringneck pt before he got the gp. I like the GP because it is spotted, and while every fly looks similar, they are all a little different from the mottling in the wingcase. It just makes it unique that way.
Hope this is detailed enough, any questions please ask👍🏻 CJ

Ps....the top photo is of a well used wet one, after 6 or 7
Upper willow fish, see how the red shows through? Nice😎
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"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

Gene
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:33 am

Re: Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by Gene » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:36 pm

Great looking fly CJ, interesting mix of materials. Thanks for sharing.

Gene

redietz
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Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:23 am
Location: Central MD

Re: Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by redietz » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:53 pm

Very nice, well thought out pattern. Great name for it, as well.

I think I need to break free of my dependence on orange thread as show-through color; that red makes the fly distinctive.
Bob

johne
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Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Warwick NY

Re: Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by johne » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:25 pm

Great step by step CJ! Thanks!
I have been tying my nymphs with the wing case over the bead for as long as I have used beads. I always felt it looked more natural that way for mayfly nymphs. I really love the golden P tail wing case idea. It really sets the pattern off. Your thoughts on red thread are very interesting too and I'm going to give that a whirl. A mutual friend of ours, Donnie Pillar came up with a pattern called the "Dirty Caddis". It's success was the black thread bleeding through very light and sparse dubbing giving it a gut sack kinda look when wet. Love your pattern my friend and after some of our talks have fished it with good results. Though now I will spin them with the red thread underbody.

Thanks again for taking the time to post this!!

Regards

John
Last edited by johne on Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Eperous
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Re: Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by Eperous » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:07 pm

Great post CJ, thanks for thanking the time... :D ;)

Ed

Algyros
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Re: Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by Algyros » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:08 pm

Great tutorial, John. Thanks.

St.Froid
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Re: Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by St.Froid » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:54 pm

Thanks for a great post and tutorial! I've loved the hares ear for years but the relationship had gotten rather stale of late; thanks for sparking a new found interest in a great old pattern.

tie2fish
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Location: Harford County, Maryland

Re: Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by tie2fish » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:29 am

Really appreciate that, CJ. Great job.

Algyros
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Location: Austin, TX

Re: Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by Algyros » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:15 am

Have you found that the color of the bead matters? The ones in the photo seem to have gold beads, is that right? Have you tried exotic colors?

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catskilljohn
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Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Catskill cannonball step-by-step

Post by catskilljohn » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:02 pm

Ahhhh! I knew I left something out!

I have always used gold. I do have an assortment of colored beads, and have used other colors, but I always just pluck the gold ones from the fly box to fish with.

I was tying these at one of the shops in Roscoe in the fall, and a nice guy from around the Esopus area suggested copper....he swears that copper beads are magnets for browns.

I am going to see if his theory holds true on my stream in the spring😎. CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

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