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Yellow CDC Mayday
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Yellow CDC Mayday
Pattern, Flies and Photos by Martin Westbeek, Oisterwijk, Netherlands

CDC is a wonderful material for flytying, and I use it quite a bit in both dry flies, emergers and nymphs. One thing I was not satisfied with however, was the way a CDC front hackle looked. The relatively thick stem often creates too much bulk and distorts the fine barbs, no matter what I tried.

One day I saw a tyer use CDC for spider patterns and he used a technique that would solve the problem: the pull-and-clip technique. With this technique we can make a dense CDC hackle, without the bother and bulk of the stem.

The fly below is the Yellow CDC Mayday. Of course the technique works equally well for BWOs, Sulphurs, and other patterns. The method may look a little time-consuming, but once you've got the hang of it you'll find that it is a quick technique that gives you a very nice result.

Have fun!

Materials: Yellow CDC Mayday

    Hook:  TMC 102Y, #17.

    Thread:  Uni 8/0, yellow.

    Tails:  Bleached Pheasant tail.

    Body: : Ultrafine, yellow.

Tying Steps:

Step 1. Spin the bobbin clockwise and create a thread bump right behind the eye of the hook.

Step 2. Select a CDC feather, stroke the barbs back, and cut out the tip. Hold the feather in your left hand, and pull out 4 to 5 fibers on each side.

Step 3. Tie in at your side of the hook. Just make one wrap, hard against the thread bump with the free fibers extending over the eye.

Step 4. Keeping the tread under tension, pull the CDC feather back slowly. The thread tension will keep the barbs in place, but the stem will be pulled out from under the wrap. You'll see - and hear - a soft snap when the stem is free.

Step 5. Cut the feather, and take care that you don't leave any stem.

Step 6. Rotate the vise, pull 4 to 5 fibers out at each side of the feather, and tie in with one wrap. Try to stay as close to the eye as possible.

Step 7. Pull the feather back out and clip off.

Step 8. Repeat until you've made one and a half turn with the hook, after which you'll have tied in and clipped the CDC feather 10 times or so - 4 above, 3 below and 4 above the hook shank. Always keep as close to the eye as possible, which is easy since there is no bulk at the tie-in point.

Step 9. Take the thread to the point above the hook point and make another thread bump.

Step 10. Tie in the tails; the thread bump will make them flare (picture 10a and 10b).

Step 11. Dub the body, hard against the tie-in point.

Step 12. Push the fibers back and pull the thread through them from under the hook.

Step 13. Push the silicone tube (you may have wondered what the brown tube is for, right?) over the CDC.

Step 14. Make a whip finish against the CDC fibers, so that they are firmly sandwiched between the thread and the body. Push the silicone tube back on the bobbin holder and cut the thread.

Step 15. Using scissors, clip the CDC until you have the shape you want. Don't clip the fibers around the hackle, but make diagonal cuts in front of and behind the hackle, which produces a more irregular shape. Clip out a 'V' at the underside of the hook.

Just add water. Good fishing! ~ Martin Westbeek

You can contact Martin through his personal Web site

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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