Fly Tying Step-by-Step Tutorial: Marc Petitjean’s CDC Nymph

a real gem for us today from Barry Ord Clarke’s site The Feather Bender. tied by Marc, photographed by Barry, that’s a team that’s hard to beat.

” When Marc began tying nymphs with CdC ( nearly 20 years ago) many prominent anglers thought it was a joke! and that CdC was not a suitable material for nymphs, oh how time has proved them wrong. “

this quote brings a little smirk because however much these feathers may be interesting i’m a firm believer that they work best underwater rather than above. if you’re not convinced try taking some feathers or better yet a cdc dry fly and get it wet by gently rubbing it between your fingers under water and watch it in say, a glass of water. if you didn’t squeeze it too tight there will be air bubbles trapped in the fibers and the rest will pulse in a very attractive manner, imitating legs, wings, antennae or the insect’s veiling shuck. all strong suggestions of life without having to resort to very ‘technical’ depictions/recreations of these elements by using a myriad of materials. brilliant !

this particular generalist pattern makes a great caddis imitation but a few tweaks here and there such as adding tails or reducing the body feathers to two or even just one for a slimmer profile turns it into an equally effective mayfly imitation.
as one might expect, the fly is tied using the range of Petitjean tools but don’t let that put you off if you don’t have them. spring clips can substitute the Magic Tool and a fly/electrician’s clip can be used to hold and twist the body hackles.

it starts off like so,MP CDC Nymph 1

and ends like this.
MP CDC Nymph 2

to discover everything in between click either image for the complete step-by-step.
enjoy !

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Creating a detached body mayfly

a super-sweet step-by-step by tutorial Barry Ord Clarke

cdc-may-fly BOC 1

we’ve already seen several variations of detached-bodied flies and here’s another simple to make version yielding adaptable, resistant and  gorgeous results.

extended cdc mayfly BOC 2
very well explained and photographed, what may at first seem a little daunting to the neophyte, “This is a simple but but effective mayfly pattern that fly tiers of any level can tie with a little practice. Once you have mastered this technique all you have to do is change the size and colour to match most mayfly hatches.

The chioce of colours and sizes of fly to be used when tying this pattern is determined by what mayfly you intend to imitate and under what conditions.  In still water fishing, trout can be extremly sellective when feeding on mayflies, they have good time to check them out before sucking them in.”

we’ll note that although this tutorial is intended for mayflies, the same basic technique enables us to create extended bodies for any other insect by simply changing or mixing colors, dubbing types, proportions, adding tails or not. we can even add legs in the same manner we’d place rubber or feather-fibre legs in between the dubbing wraps. the possibilities are pretty much endless.

on a personal note, i hope these step by steps will encourage tiers to delve back into the realm of  creating flies instead of assembling the increasingly popular ‘ikea-style’ fast-food flies from pre-made, paint-by-number kits. not only are they generally more realistic/enticing to the fish (as opposed to what the angler might think a bug looks like and behaves) but allow greater variances to fit one’s specific needs (matching the specific bugs where you fish instead of some bugs from the other side of the globe), they’re a whole heck of a lot cheaper and most importantly, increase the angler’s satisfaction of successfully creating something oneself worthy enough to trick our slimy friends.

click either pic to access this great tutorial. enjoy !

extended cdc mayfly BOC 3

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Matuka !

matuka BOC 1 probably more fun than tying or fishing them, the greatest joy with this awesome streamer pattern is yelling

MAAAATUKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !!!

at the top of your lungs when approaching a likely big-fish holding spot. this seemingly counter-intuitive act puts the bigger fish in a prime eating mode and also chases away any other angler for miles around. (nothing’s worse for good fishing mojo than say, having a casting instructor observing your style from behind a bush with the ensuing silent tsk, tsk critiquing). the unsuspecting angler may not see or hear anything but  as we all know, negative vibes are the real cause of tailing loops !

having a hard time finding out the actual creator of this pattern, i’ll go sheep-like and simply bleat that it’s origins originate in New Zealand (the land of sheeps) and was devised as a bait fish imitation to match well, the local baitfish.
matuka BOC wingsit’s particular shape comes from the use of two feathers, carefully prepared, trimmed to form and tied in back to back on top of the hook shank. that in itself doesn’t seem to be so unique as it apparently has been part of much older salmon patterns and we’ll also readily find flies of the same name tied in with a rabbit fur (or other similar fur strip) instead of  hackles so, what seems to me is the Matuka style can mostly be attributed to the fact that whatever the ‘wing’ is made of, it’s held in place by the rib starting by the back of the fly and wound towards the front.

anyway, in what is by far the prettiest, neatest and over-all yummiest version of this pattern i’ve ever seen, Monsieur Barry Ord Clarke shares with us a great step-by-step of this version with all of the finer points in making a not-only beautiful but successful fly worthy of presenting to a bigun‘.

as suggested, don’t hesitate to mix and match other materials to suit your needs and get ‘just the right profile’. one recommendation though, be anal with the feather preparation and symmetry as this greatly affects how the fly swims and tracks through the water.
click either pic to access the step-by-step. enjoy !

matuka BOC 2

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Dry Fly hackle preparation

by Barry Ord Clarke

hackle prep 1 BOC

from a recently started ongoing series of fly tying tips and tricks for the beginning fly tier, today’s tutorial is a vital skill for any tier and maybe one that a lot of ‘confirmed’ tiers might want to review.
the reason i bring up that last point is throughout the years, whether in person or on countless online tying videos we’ll often see hackles tied in a ‘come whatever’ haphazard way. a well-meaning friend once told me “If you put it in sideways it’ll stay sideways… “ and this for sure applies to hackles as well !
a solid, secure and properly angled hackle will be so much easier to work with leaving a visually pleasant final result but more importantly, an overall higher effectiveness * of the hackle when it’s fishing.

hackle prep 2 BOC

* (ok, there are no absolutes but i’m referring to the traditional hackled dry fly as portrayed in the step-by-step following the hackle prep technique)

for more of this series be sure to check out Barry’s page The Feather Bender (what an appropriate name… :wink: ) and click either pic above for both the hackle prep and traditional dry fly step-by-step tutorials. enjoy !