Marc Petitjean didn’t invent Croupion De Canard* feathers nor was he the first to use them to tie flies but when it comes to this particular material he’s one of if not the best in the field so getting the chance to watch and hear Marc demonstrate one of his patterns is not only a treat but an enriching experience. be sure to pay attention to all the details as this pattern encompasses just about every cdc technique there is. enjoy !
* contrary to popular usage, CDC actually means Croupion De Canard which translates from french as Duck Rump, the not very specific region where these feathers are located whether it be duck, goose or other waterfowl.
the more popular moniker of the first C, Cul is the vulgar translation of butt or arse (think old school here. let’s say the word wouldn’t have been pronounced on tv until the 70’s or 80’s) and while those two bird parts aren’t very far from each other and even if butts tend to be nice generally speaking, waterfowl butts are rather inexistant and mostly consist of a hole that isn’t very exciting to say the least… and while its function is secretion, its nothing that would help any feather float.
where the more common Cul comes in (that was a fun thought), is when Henri Bresson, a long ago dead frenchman created a pattern using the very same feathers and made a slightly vulgar play on words when giving it its name. somehow that name stuck even if the very vast majority of fly anglers around the world have never heard of Bresson or that particular fly pattern. funnier still, is there’s no available image or tying description of his fly, only written stories so, for all we know it all might have been a dream.
sorry to be so anal but this butt stuff makes it fitting…
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,
and ends like this.
to discover everything in between click either image for the complete step-by-step.
here’s a super-sweet, superbly tied Blue Dun imitation by 0031flyfishing
very much inspired by Marc Petitjean’s methods of working with cdc, following the basic guideline of this great tutorial and varying colors, sizes, omitting the red tag or not will lead to an extremely good generic imitation of just about any of the bazillions varied creatures of the Ephemeroptera (mayfly) family. *
crank up the volume and enjoy !
* (and more or less any other bug that has wings, a body and a tail)
for more info on the natural insect click the pic to access troutnut.com‘s page.