SBS Goddard Caddis SBS


Active Member
Never the first fly I tie if I've been away from the vise for a while. Pretty basic in terms of materials and not that complicated, but you have to nail proportions/amounts/thread tension to get a decent looking one; ugly ones do catch fish, but my ugly ones tend to come apart, too. I've tied them skinny (cut the hair closer to the hook shank) but mine never floated as long, so I go more with the full figured look. For smaller sizes I go with sturdier nymph hooks (something like a Mustad 3906) - makes it a bit easier for me when spinning the hair. These suckers really do float like a cork in even the roughest water and are great for pounding up fish that don't even know they're hungry.

hook - Dai Riki 320 #12
thread - UTC 70 brown
body - deer hair
hackle - brown (I like to undersize it a bit, so for this fly I'd want something a bit bigger that #14 hackle but not quite a #12; sounds a bit anal but it seems to sit on the water better)

Mash down barb, attach thread at 50% and wind back to the bend

cut a generous clump of deer hair, clean but don't stack and trim tips

hold deer hair on top of hook (you'll want it a little longer off the back end)

with hair pinched to hook, 2 soft loops right on top of each other

draw the bobbin slowly and firmly towards you but maintain pinch so it doesn't spin; hair will flare in the front which is what you want

take a couple wraps through the flared hair which will distribute it around the hook shank and move thread forward; push the flared hair back with your fingernails (while holding onto the tail) to compress the hair; sorry only 2 hands available so I can photograph

cut and clean another clump of hair and trim the tips; make this one shorter than the first clump since you're going to spin it

hold it on top of the hook with right hand (if you're a righty tier)

and apply 3 soft loops right on top of each other; holding the clump with your "bobbin" fingers checks the tendency for the thread to slide down the clump too far (again lack of 3rd hand means no pic; sorry)

draw the bobbin slowly and firmly towards you and allow hair to spin around hook shank

pack hair back against first clump, try to get it as tight as possible (fingernails, hair packer, whatever works for you); add another clump, pack it, tie off and apply a small bit of Sally

flip it over and with 1/2 of a double edged razor blade (use the hook eye as a depth of cut gauge)

push the blade straight back to the hook bend

flip the fly back over and establish top of body, pushing blade back at an upward angle

then make cuts on both sides, angling back and out slightly

guys like Skip Morris and Charlie Craven get amazing results using mainly the razor blade but I need the hair scissors to get the final shape I want (I take the fly out of the vise and hold it with forceps)

cut the back angle (may need to trim some of those fibers on the bottom)

square off the front end, re-attach thread and tie in hackle

wind hackle in tight turns to make it dense (you could double up if you want)

tie off hackle, trim, add Sally (a bit on the bottom doesn't hurt, either) and you're done


Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Scott, great SBS of one of my favorite and more productive flies. I often add two long slender antenae forward on mine, tying them in at the front of the deer hair, and before tying in the hackle. Then I add the hackle, wrap forward on the antenae trying to keep them angled forward and slightly spit. I finish with the hackle and head.

I find the Goddard easy to see, floats well, takes dressing well to float even better, and takes a ton of abuse by trout before needing to be replaced. I tie them in various sizes too, sometimes varying the front hackle color to cover nearly black to bright orange to pale tan.


Edit: Oh, by the way, no razor blades for me...too many cuts and hacked up flies. I have a very inexpensive hair trimmer that works great. I'm not too proud to add some modern conveniences into my tying sequence!
Awesome, I am starting to dabble in Deer hair and you make it look simple. I will absorb the casualness and replicate it!
Thanks for the post!