Petitjean's CDC Magic
|How to use Marc Petitjean's Magic Tool to mix CDC fibers, hackle, dubbing, and fur.|
As a professional fly tier I have tied approximately 20,000 flies per year during the last 18 years. I have had plenty of time to think about and study the problems I face both as a fly tier and fisherman.
Some time ago, I decided there were two major fly-tying problems I wanted
to solve. I wanted to wind feathers of all types and sizes on hook shanks
of various sizes--for instance a large soft-hackle feather on a small
hook or a CDC feather wrapped parachute style. Because there are very
few solid colors in nature, I also wanted to mix CDC colors or mix materials
as I wrapped to add dimension to my flies and create either realistic
or fantastic color combinations. The commercial dyeing process that produces
consistent colors in huge batches is actually the antithesis of what you
see in nature. Painters realistically portray life by mixing colors on
a palette. Mixing colors is how you produce natural realism.
Based on these two unresolved problems I developed the Magic Tool. The
Magic Tool is a set of small clear plastic table clamps or snap tools.
First, I fold various materials into the jaws of the clamp to align, size,
or mix materials. Then I grab the tips of the material with another clamp,
cut away the excess (including any hackle stem), and add the material
to a dubbing loop and wrap the fly. With this technique I can easily create
CDC parachute hackle without the annoyance of the thick CDC stem or the
difficulty of finding a CDC feather that is correctly sized for a small
Using the same process you can place two or more different-colored CDC feathers in the clamp and create the multi-hued effect I discussed earlier. You can create an unlimited number of hackle substitutes with this tool. Press dubbing into the clamp using a CDC stem (or any hackle stem) to create a dubbing and hackle mix that wraps on the hook in one step. Try this technique for Woolly Buggers and other hackled wet flies. I can also use large soft-hackle feathers to wrap collars on small flies.
The tool allows you to get rid of the skin on strips of fur the same way you remove the hackle stem. Imagine a concoction of flowing rabbit fur together with long soft Spey hackle you can palmer on the body in one step. If you play with the angle of the bulldog clip when you grab the elements, you can create a rope with long fibers at the bottom and shorter fibers at the top for a tapered silhouette.
Wrap long synthetic material like Angel Hair or Krystal Flash around
the wooden dowel segments provided with the tool. Cut the material lengthwise
along the dowel to create ¼- to ¾-inch-long hanks of material
that can be pressed into the clamp along with other materials. If you
want to add material without a hackle stem, or if the hackle stem section
you have is too short to extend past each edge of the clamp, use a length
of wire to press the material into the clamp and then slide the wire out
either end of the clamp. When compared to dubbing brushes used for similar
purposes, there is no added weight or bulk from the wire--always a consideration
when tying dry flies--and you always have the right amount of material
exactly where you want it. You can add weight before you wrap your material
(lead wire) or as a wire rib.
For an on-line video go to http://www.flyfisherman.com/ftb/kbvideos/index.html
1. Secure the thread near the center of the hook.
Tying the MP CDC Parachute
Wrap the thread well into the bend of the hook and back again. This provides
a secure base for attaching the tail fibers and reduces glare from the
hook shank. From the trout's perspective, this visually separates the
hook from the fly with a band of dark, non-reflective thread. Attach 8
to 10 Coq de Leon fibers for the tail, which should be about the same
length as the hook shank. Secure the tip of a CDC feather to the base
of the hook shank. Twist and at the same time wrap the feather in close
turns covering two thirds of the hook shank. Trim the excess CDC fibers
from the body. The diameter of the CDC stem becomes thicker as you wrap
forward and creates a conical body like a real mayfly. Split the thread
with a needle or bodkin and add CDC fibers prepared with the Magic Tool
for the parachute post. Pinch the thread closed with a small spring clamp.
Split the thread again for another loop and add CDC fibers for the parachute
hackle. Twist the bobbin to create a CDC hackle rope with two different
CDC colors in it. Wrap the CDC hackle rope around the hook shank. After
each turn, stroke the fibers upward to create a parachute post. Use figure-eight
wraps around the hook shank at the base of the parachute post to create
the thorax and hackle of the fly. Unlike traditional parachute hackle,
which is wrapped around only the base of the post and situated above the
body, this method more accurately imitates the legs and thorax of the
insect which are in contact with the water's surface. Trim the hackle
at the bottom of the fly. If desired, trim or tear away the CDC post to
whatever length you wish.