Teabag winged caddis- by Tom Herr

featured, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on February 2, 2011 1:07 pm

“This particular idea came to me one early morning on my way to work after I was called to come in for storm duty. It was raining hard and the winds were @ 50 mph +, people were out of power and my mind should have been on the events that were about to unfold … But I could not help but think of how a Kings River Caddis I fished the morning before, had a wing that would split apart after a few nips from a trout.  I had coated the wings prior to tying and while it helped, they just did not hold up to my expectations. I knew there were other alternatives available at the fly shop, but I wanted to create my own… Through the use of gluing a feather such as mallard, gadwall, or pheasant rump to a paper backing- the feather (and fly) would be able to withstand the rigors of casting and catching fish. “ – TOM HERR

Hook: Daiichi 1180 – size 14 or equivalent
Thread: 14/0 Black
Body : Olive caddis green/brown blended
Hackle: Coachman Brown
Wing: As described

Select your pheasant rump for the caddis wing, along with a teabag (the paper is the same across brands).

Cut off the top portion of the tea bag and dump out the tea . Coat the underside of the feather liberally with Hard as Nails, place on the paper – cement side down – take a toothpick and stroke the feather from the bottom to the top (This makes sure that the feather is securely placed down onto the paper and the excess cement is worked out)  Let this dry.

Turn the paper over, coat another feather and position it on top of the previous feather you just glued in. (Try and position the stems right on top of each-other).  Again stroke the excess cement from bottom to top with a toothpick.

Note: You are gluing two feathers back to back so that when tied on the hook – the fish’s window of sight includes the feather colors from the underside – not the white of the paper.

Let it dry

Fold the feathers in half along the stems and put this into the wing burner with the stems at the top edge of the burner.

Trim the excess paper around the wing burner and burn the material off using a lighter. Do not run the lighter along the “stem” edge of the burner. Remove from the burner and trim off the excess paper by cutting along and across to the stems.

Note: I have tried wing cutters for this and although they do create a much cleaner cut – the burning tends to seal the edge of the wing through the melting of the cement, making it much more durable on the edges.

insert the hook into the vise, start your thread and dub a small ball of dubbing at the bend of the hook.

Tie in the hackle in front of the ball of dubbing and dub 2/3 of the way up the hook shank

Palmer the hackle forward and trim excess, then trim off the hackle on the top of the hook shank with your scissors.

Take the wing that you created and lay it on top of the hook shank and tie it off.

Tie in another stem of hackle and wrap it forward. If you want following this hackle, you can tie in two strands of pheasant tail for antenna. Whip finish for a completed fly

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Rating: +22 (from 34 votes)
Teabag winged caddis- by Tom Herr, 8.6 out of 10 based on 25 ratings


  1. Walwyn M. Trezise says:

    With all due respect to Mr. Herr and meaning no disrespect to Sally Hansen, but there is a problem. The wing is not durable enough in that it dissolves in water after several casts. To avoid this, try to find an adhesive 3M packing tape which the label identifies as water proof. Put that on your folded hen or game bird feather and trim. Tie it on your (flies’) body. This is not my solution. I have seen a professional tier from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, William “somebody”, at the Eastern Idaho Cutthroats Expo, who had pestered engineers at 3M, until they finally made a transparent waterproof mailing tape. It takes half the time to tie and is insoluble. Trick is to leave the hackle stem on until after you fold along the stem line and tie on, then clip off what remains of the unbarbed stem. Walwyn M. Trezise, Dubois, Wyoming.

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  2. Cliff Parmer says:

    I’ve done this using translucent tape as the backing and Flexament as the adhesive. It tied well enough but I haven’t fished it yet. The directions came from Selective Trout.

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  3. FlyFanZach1985 says:

    I was trying to wrap my head around the using 3M packing tape for the wing instead of glueing it to the tea bag. Are you using a double sided tape with two feathers? Is is just single sided tape and if that which side of the final “product” do you put down, the shiny side with the tape or the natural feather side? Just a couple of questions. Thanks.

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  4. Renee Milton says:

    What about using fabric interfacing material. That may hold up better than the paper teabag. I’ll have to try a few test wings and report back.

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  5. Aurelio De La Pina says:

    El pegado en papel es una buena alternativa.
    La cinta 3M es demaciado dura.
    Prefiero pintar la pluma de la parte inferior con UHU pegamento universal, ya que no cambia la textura y color de la pluma

    The attached paper is a good alternative.
    The 3M tape is way too hard.
    I prefer the pen to paint the bottom with glue UHU universal because it does not change the texture and color of the pen

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  6. Jack Wolbach says:

    Winters are long here in Pennsylvania, but not that long. Try reinforcing the feathers with Shoegoo, a clear flexible cement.

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  7. otis48 says:

    Clever ideas..
    How about silver paper?
    [A dollar bill-you must have money to burn though…]

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  8. Gavin Maclean says:

    I use a material called Steam and Seam Lite.
    It’s a very thin sheet of glue used to bond materials together

    I use
    A)a double layer of cling film
    B) you lay on top of this your SteamandSeam lite
    C ) you then lay your feathers onto the top of the Steam and seam Lite

    You place this between ordinary oven baking paper and take an iron
    Set about cotton temperature and gently press it across the surface.

    You then have your feathers glued to the cling film which you can
    Cut out and shape with your wing burners.

    Very easy very quick and very consistent .


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