Friday, December 2, 2011

The henryville special, with tutorial

The Henryville special is one of my favorite caddis fly imitation. The fly is very versatile in the way it can be fished. Fished dry or fished wet, it produces. The Henryville Special was created by Hiram Brobst and was first fished on the Henryville section of Pennsylvania's Broadhead Creek. Which is a beautiful stream, that unfortunately is posted heavily.  There are many different body ties for the henryville special. The original was red floss, then olive soon replaced the red. Then the floss was sub out for dubbin. The fly can be tied with other colors for the body, from tan to olive, to hell, any color you want.  I like to tie and fish them with olive or some sort of green dub. The other ingredients all have remained the same.  The one factor to tying the fly that I have always seen emphasized is that body hackle should not go beyond the gap. In other words no larger then the gap. I have always stuck to this code and it seems to have served me well.
   In the tutorial i will tie it with my rock worm dubbin blend. I also reinforce the body with a gold wire. My hackle collar is Hen neck hackle. I like the fly to really sit IN the film. I fish them dead drift with occasional twitches. I also fish them drowned or diving. It's a great producer. Lets twist one up.

Hook-Daiichi 1550- score here 
Thread- MFC 8/0 Black
Body- Utahs High test rock worm blend
Body hackle- Grizzly saddle hackle. Under sized
Rib-Fine gold wire
Collar hackle- Ginger 
Under wing- Woodduck
Wing- Mallard slips

start the thread and go back to the barb.

Tie in the wire

Dub the body. You can taper it if you wish. It doesnt matter much.

Tie in the saddle hackle

Palmer the hackle back.

Catch the hackle with the wire and run the rib up to the hackle tie in point. Tie it off, bend and break it off. Carefully break the hackle  off.

I like to take some velcro and bring out the dubbin into the body. If you want it to float high, skip this step.

Nice and roughed up, Run your fingers along the body to coax the hackle and dubbin back.

Select a small clump of wood duck flank.
Tie in the wood duck flank on top of the shank.  Have it extend past the body by a  little less than half a hook shank.

Select two slips of mallard wing fibers. Have them half the with of the gap.

Have the points, pointing towards one another.

Have the wing extend past the body by a half a hook shank length. Tie them in with the slips tenting the body.

Trim the butts of the mallard, select a ginger hackle. This hackle is from a hen neck. I like to use hen as it will give the fly life in and below the film. If you want a high rider that you can skitter, use a stiff rooster hackle.

Tie in the hackle feather by the butt.  Snip off the stem. Tidey up. Be sure you have a smooth surface to wrap the hackle on. This is a crucial step to getting a nice hackle collar.

Wind the hackle no more than two turns, you want this collar sparse. Tie it off, clip the excess and form the head. Whip finish.

Give the head a good coat of varnish to shine it up.


  1. That's a classic caddis pattern tied to perfection.

  2. I'm not familiar with that pattern but its a beautiful looking tie!

  3. Alan- Thank you. The henryville has caught me plenty of trout over the years.

    Jules- Thank you! The henryville was a very popular fly back in the broadheads heyday.

  4. Great job Bro!!

  5. Johnny, this fly and write up is just awesome. thanx man!!!