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
Enter a caption

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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


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… 😉 ) and click either pic above for both the hackle prep and traditional dry fly step-by-step tutorials. enjoy !

Fly Tying with a gun.

a great sticky tip from Barry Ord Clarke

although not an exclusive element to this material and not all flies require it to be effective, transparency can give very realistic impressions of air bubbles, reflections from the underwater environment, the natural transparency of some bugs or baitfish or in other words, of life.
hot melt glue is inexpensive, great fun to use because it’s sticky, hot and smells sexy and it brings creativity to the tying process closer to one of sculpture, of modeling a fly.

what’s not to like with results like these ? 

click either pic for Barry’s hot and sticky tutorial. enjoy !

the Elasticaddis !

from Barry Ord Clarke

ok, these are extremely well, ermmm,  funny looking flies… 😆 but !!!  hat’s off the mysterious inventor of this pattern and to Barry for showing us how to put it together. rubber bands and hooks. what better way to have fun ?

as noted in the SBS, using the bead as a ‘stacker’ is quite ingenious and this trick can be adapted to other patters.

go creative , the fish’ll never know what hit them !

click either pic for Barry’s step by step. enjoy !

The fly for Autumn Pike…

a step-by-step by Barry Ord Clarke

simply friggin’ awesomely Wicked ! 

for the full step-by-step click on either pic but in the meantime, just to get your mouth watering here’s a little teaser on how to fish this Wicked fly.
” Firstly, find a likely spot on the water, where there’s maybe a pike lying in wait, or resting after a hunt. Before casting, make sure that your streamer is well-soaked and all air removed. This will not only make it sink quicker but also make it more aerodynamic and so easier to cast. Then with a short, hard and direct cast, shoot your streamer into the water as hard as you can – then repeat this three or four times in the same area of water. Splash that fly and heavy leader as loud as you like, it will surely attract the immediate attention of any pike within spitting distance.

Make one last cast and this time let your streamer sink… and then retrieve as normal. If there’s a pike in the vicinity it will come to the fly, the rest, as they say, is up to you… “

an EZ easy-peasy* Sand Eel

by Barry Ord Clarke

if you too have been wondering how to get your tail to go around corners tie a great sand eel pattern, look no more !
Barry’s at it again with another fab step-by-step tutorial sure to get you hooked up with any coastal hottie.
quick, click the pic !

” 18 pints? Easy Peasy!!
Tie your shoes? Why that’s easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Beat your meat? Why that’s easy peasy Japanesey!
As a red-stater, condemn books and films without having read or seen them? Why that’s easy peasy puddin’n’pie! “

bobbin condoms !

here’s a really cool tying tip found on Mustad‘s page by Barry Ord Clarke

pretty self-explanatory, the snipped-of dishwashing glove tip is inserted over the bobbin holder before tying then slid down and over the hook eye once the fly is finished, pulling all material back and away from the hook eye to do a strong and clean whip-finish and head varnish.
nice. neat. sweet !

Seabass Herring fly

by Barry Ord Clarke

to be honest, i hesitated sharing this because of the dead fish at the beginning, something i really don’t like to see and even less so here on the Cobra.
on the other hand, the fly is really awesome and i hope you’ll be inspired by it and the way it’s tied. maybe that’ll make up for my discomfort.

Bee Cee Caddis Pupa

By Barry Ord Clarke via the Mustad site

 here’s a particularly nice and juicy step by step of a great caddis pupae imitation worth having in every box. the use of chamois skin and the way the ostrich herls are wrapped around each winding of the skin give a very life-like look and realistic movement to this fly. something to note and that we don’t see in the images is how chamois skin looks when wet: very-very buggy with an impression of translucency and just plain awesome bug-like yumminess ! quite common in the past as it was used to get a spot-free finish after washing automobiles, they’re not the easiest material to find as they have mostly been replaced by synthetics but well worth the search.
 click either pic to access the step by step and nice accompanying notes and fishing suggestions. enjoy !

Hydropsyche-farout-delic !

a wonderful Hydropsyche nymph step by step by Barry Ord Clarke via Mustad.

” In recent years, mostly through the success of the Czech national fly fishing team, this style of nymph has become extremely popular especially for short line river fishing. When tying this pattern there are a couple of points to note. Regarding weighting the Hydropsyche nymphe, you can apply as much weight as you require as an under body or in the form of tungsten beads under the thorax. Just try to retain the natural body shape. The plastic strip that we use as the shell back shouldn´t be made from a strip from a regular plastic bag, but of a much heavier gauge plastic. If you examine some of the plastic bags that contain your fly tying materials you will see that some are much thicker than others, especially at the top of the back where it locks, this is perfect for this pattern. If you have problems finding this heavy gauge plastic you can buy shell back or another similar material. When applying the dubbing, step 5, you should try and fade one colour of dubbing into the next so it appears to be a natural transition, this you can do when spinning the dubbing onto the tying thread. It also helps to brush the dubbing and open the fibres when on the hook. ”
tying instructions step by step  here

the Hydropsyche (Netspinning Caddis flies) larvae can generally be found in the faster moving parts of streams and rivers. they’re filter-feeders, eating algae, detritus, and particles of organic material captured in their nets. trout eat them like candy !
side view

seen from below

adult stage

bug info and pics via BugGuide. bon appétit !