The Forgotten Flies #1: Oliver Edwards' Knotted Emerging Caddis

I can distinctly remember the day I discovered Oliver Edwards on Youtube. I had been scrolling for over 5 minutes just not finding anything very interesting. The one problem with all of these algorithm based searches, is they feed you stuff you already have seen in mass before you get to something new. But then I saw a video of an older gentleman I had never heard of, with a beautiful tying bench and a pretty realistic pattern that he called "Rhyacophila". I played the video, and although I'm not typically interested in more intricate fly patterns, his presentation hooked me. He spoke very well, and his setting was beautiful. It showed that he had a rich life, and his fly tying technique was exceptional. While the pattern was more complex than say a dubbing based caddis larvae, he made me feel like anyone could tie this fly following his methodologies. He was a great teacher, but it wasn't boring to watch by any means. I watched that 25 minute tutorial two or three times in a row just to reinforce it in my head and then I attempted it several times. It was NOT easy, but I was close and each subsequent tie got better and better. I don't have it down yet by any means, but it introduced me to the world of Oliver Edwards fly tying and fly fishing. 

Oliver was one of Britain's best known fly tyers. He was regularly published in the various trade magazines in Britain and the US, and he was also a traveling demonstrator, appearing at all of the British fly fairs, as well as the International Fly Tying Symposium held in NJ every November. He was also a member of England's fly fishing team for the 1998 Fly Fishing World Championships held in Poland. He also wrote a great fly tying book featuring his patterns and techniques titled "Oliver Edwards' Flytyers Masterclass". This book is no longer in print, but can be found in various fly fishing forums from time to time, or on Ebay. I bought myself a copy after watching a few tutorials, and it's great because you will not burn through this book. His flies take time to tie, and even more time to master. He also has several incredible fly fishing and fly tying DVD's including the complete 8 DVD set (6 on fly fishing, 2 on fly tying patterns). You can order your set HERE . They also offer streaming subscriptions of those that prefer to watch it on your phone, tablet, or pc. 

Oliver Edwards passed away at age 85 in April of this year, 2023. As a relatively new fly tyer (10 years), I wish I could have discovered his flies earlier and seen him tie in person. For me, there are a handful of fly tyers who I could endlessly, and he is one of them. Marc Petitjean and Enrico Puglisi are the other two that come most immediate to mind. Now that you know the man, let's take a look at his Knotted Emerging Caddis pattern. 


The Knotted Emerging Caddis

The body of this pattern is made using Embroidery Floss, and an over hand knot weave. It's very simple and very effective at creating a two toned body, with spots on the side. This technique can be used for caddis pupa and larvae, as well as stonefly nymphs, and even some mayflies. I tied several of these when I was researching this article, and if you don't have the ideal emerger hook, a klinkhammer hook works well. In size 12, I found 3 strands of each of the embroidery floss to be just about right for the body. Adjust that amount as needed. And if you've ever struggled separating lengths of embroidery floss- I have a great tip. When you reach the point they start knotting together or not pulling away freely- stop pulling and flip the yarn in the air freely. The slack you give it allows the strands to separate and start pulling freely once more. I don't know why this works so well, but it does. 

One last thing on fishing this pattern. The cotton floss body will absorb water if not treated with a floatant, and will tend to orient itself like a Klinkhammer in the water. To get the fly to ride more horizontal, apply your favorite floatant (Oliver recommends Dilly Wax) to the underside of the floss body. 

The Knotted Emerging Caddis Materials

Hook: Firehole Sticks 317 Size 12  HERE
Thread: Danville Spiderweb  HERE
Underbody: Partridge Stems HERE
Weaving Material: DMC Embroidery Floss (See Walmart or Hobby Lobby)
Emerging Wingcase: Dark Natural CDC  HERE
Thorax: CDC Dubbing Natural Dun/Tan  HERE
Rubberlegs: Fine Brown Rubberlegs  HERE
Antennae: Originally Badger, but sub Moose Body Hair or Muskrat  HERE


I hope you enjoyed this weeks lost fly pattern. I know it you tie it you will learn a few things, and you'll probably catch a few fish along the way. 

In next week's article I'm going to cover a legend of the Letort- Ed Shenk and his Old Ugly Sculpin aka the Sculpinator. Do you know an old fly pattern that has been forgotten and want to see it covered in this series? Comment down below! 

Daniel Podobed III

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