Waters & words : a celebration of flyfishing

Posts tagged “Marc Petitjean

You name it

There are so many flies out there, that everything one invents has invariably been done before.

There was this one inspired by a friend of Fran Better’s Dad….one Eddie Lawrence of the Green Drake Club, who gave it to him, and which he passed on to Fran who refined it and named it as the “Haystack”.  (Info from HERE) . Then it was sort of copied  in Al Caucci’s  Compara Dun, and Bob Wyatt used a similar concept when he did his DHE (Deer Hair Emerger).

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I like and use the DHE. (also called the Berg Emerger as created by Peter Brigg), and since Marc Petitjean’s visits to South Africa in recent years, I have been encouraged to play around with CDC a lot more than I used to. In addition to that, I listened intently the other day when Hans Van Klinken described to us how his Klinkhammer actually floats using the wing, not the hackle, which aids in its low float. A low float is what a DHE does, and it does it with deer hair. CDC would help it to stay there and not sink, right?  And that bum that hangs in the water….why not weigh it down with a disused shuck, using the stillborn/stuck-shuck concept.

Petitjean numbers his flies. Everyone else names them.  (normally after themselves….even I have done that)  There just isn’t enough space for new names. So here is a nameless thing :

CDCdhe (5 of 38)

Features:

  • an oversize wing in both CDC and deer hair, so that it will float and so that you can see it.
  • A scraggly, sparkly, semi submerged thorax with a bit more CDC in there to help it stay up.
  • A butt that sinks, and  represents a midge that just couldn’t wriggle out of its skin.

Here is the tie:

You will need this stuff:

CDCdhe (1 of 38)

Start with that hook, which needs to be this sort of shape, and note  that it has to be barbless…you will see why later:

 

CDCdhe (7 of 38)

Now choose some Klipspringer or similar white deer hair, stack it in a 9mm cartridge (see how that stacker alongside is just too big?) , and tie it in facing forward over the eye of the hook.

CDCdhe (8 of 38)CDCdhe (9 of 38)CDCdhe (10 of 38)

Now get yourself some white CDC, and tie it in behind the deer hair wing.  I do it like this:

 

CDCdhe (11 of 38)CDCdhe (12 of 38)

 

Note that I prefer to use some common foam in place of Marc Petitjeans little table thing. Sorry Marc…I just like the foam better, but hey, the clear clip is the best!

Then I push it down with a needle until I can grab the bunch in my fingers and release it from the clip. I am afraid I don’t own that fancy tool that does this, but a needle works:

CDCdhe (13 of 38)CDCdhe (14 of 38)

OK…now tie it in:

CDCdhe (15 of 38)CDCdhe (16 of 38)

Now strip a peacock herl, and then tie it in here:

CDCdhe (17 of 38)CDCdhe (18 of 38)

Note that I wound the silk right down to the very end of that exposed hook, but only tied in the peacock herl about a third of the way up.  Now wind the herl forward and tie off, so that you have the top two thirds or so of the body wound with a herl, and the lower third as bare silk, like this:

CDCdhe (19 of 38)

Now, whip finish and take the fly out of the J Vice. Now get yourself some hollow tube ….I use larva lace……something just off totally transparent:

 

CDCdhe (21 of 38)

And with a blade, split about half of the piece you have cut, like this:

CDCdhe (22 of 38)CDCdhe (23 of 38)

Remember I said the hook has to be barbless?  Here’s why:

Slide the tubing over the point, in-tact end first (split piece trailing):

CDCdhe (24 of 38)

Before pressing the tube all the way, stop at about the point indicated above, and wet the exposed silk with superglue or UV glue. If you are going to be fishing this pattern with Hans Van Klinken, and assuming you are honest, I recommend you use the UV glue.  This is because when you catch a fish, Hans disallows it in the scoring when caught on the superglue version , based on the fact that to glue flies with superglue, just isn’t cricket (or fly tying).

Anyway, once you have wet that slender portion of silk (no more…use tiny quantities….), slide the tube up to where the wraps of stripped herl start:

CDCdhe (25 of 38)

Now place the hook back in the vice and put a thin layer of UV glue on the stripped herl body to strengthen it and give it translucence:

CDCdhe (26 of 38)

Then start the silk again between the wing and the body, and form a dubbing loop ready for spinning, and once done, get out your CDC tools and put some low quality, sparse, scraggly  CDC into the slot. In this case I am using black.  Then put the clip on it, but in the case of a small fly, like this one (#16), pull the clip back so as to just grab the ends of the fibres , as a means of getting slighty shorter fibres trapped in the clip:

CDCdhe (27 of 38)CDCdhe (28 of 38)

Now, get your dubbing.  I never use dubbing straight from a packet. Its against my laws.  I have to mix.  Here I mix various spikey black dubbings, with some very sparkly ice-dub or similar.

CDCdhe (29 of 38)

Now, pull a very sparse skein of dubbing, like you would do if you were going to place some dubbing in a dubbing loop, but even more sparse than if you were going to do that, and place it atop the protruding ends of CDC in the clip like this:

CDCdhe (30 of 38)

Now get it into your dubbing loop , and spin:

CDCdhe (31 of 38)CDCdhe (32 of 38)

Now wind that brush behind, and later, in front of the wing, and then tie off at the eye:

CDCdhe (33 of 38)

Then form a head, and whip finish etc.  Now swing your J Vice upside down, and carefully trim everything below the shank, like this: 

CDCdhe (35 of 38)CDCdhe (36 of 38)

Notice how I have taken particular care to cut away any dubbing and CDC that pointed rear of the thorax.

This is so that the fly will sit right down in the water, with its front high and its backside low.

Here is the finished product:

CDCdhe (38 of 38)

CDCdhe (3 of 38)

CDCdhe (6 of 38)

If you like it, you are welcome to name it. One day maybe I will attend a fly tying workshop, and you can tell me its new name and show me how to tie it.

PS. Yes, it does catch fish.


Midge designs explored

 

With thoughts of reverse tied flies running through my head, and the recent sound of buzzers hovering in the cattails at the lake shore, I tied up these midge emergers:

Midges-7

Upside down: you know….get the hook point up into the hackle and have all that steel less obvious. The other benefit, is that your tippet is tied to something under the surface. If you consider this the dropper and  tie a point fly on the eye of the dropper fly you have this:

Midge rig-1

…. and then you use a very small larva pattern to sink off the point and keep the tippet sunk, but without pulling the emerger down, A larva like this:

Midges-9

If they take the ‘dry’, that’s great…if they take that tiny point fly (#20)…well, you’re still a hero.

Then I got to thinking about those Parasol Post Buzzers like this:

Midges-1

If you are unsure about these or need some convincing that they aren’t some weird experiment that might not work, I suggest you watch Tim Cammisa on the subject HERE

Right…so now that you have bought that concept…..What if you put the parasol post ABOVE a surface fly. So instead of using it to float and hold a fly just under the surface, you take my reverse tied emergers in the first photo of this post, let the CDC and Coq de Leon float them*, and add a parasol post that sticks out ABOVE the water like this:

Midges-8

…* a note on the float:  In the top photo I was using CDC and foam to float the fly. Now we have lost the foam…that is way up in the air. So here is what we do with CDC and Coq De Leon:  The CDC is wrapped in a dubbing loop (Petitjean tool and all that), with lots of bulk CDC to trap air, and a long fibred Coq De Leon feather is wound to give the fly a broad surface sprawl…both of these working in unison make this thing float like a champagne cork (AKA a DDD)

And then, if the Parasol Post is not being used as part of the imitation (i.e. this is NOT the buzzer’s white breather filaments being imitated here), then why not make it something you can really see…I mean, so obvious that you can’t miss it out there on the waves:

Midges-5

30 yards away.

In a fog.

When you left your glasses at home.

Midges-4

NT

In the words of Zuma when he has just done something offensive: …a deep throttly , deliberate …”he he he”

We came up with a name for this bright mesmerizing thing on top that you can’t pull your eyes away from, but its not very PC.  Let’s just say it is abbreviated to “NT” .

Now the “NT” gets buffeted in the wind, and makes that midge WRIGGLE beneath it.

And if you are worried that this bright thing will scare fish away, take a look at the silhouette of the fly…in other words, as seen from below, like a fish would see it:

Midges-6

Not so scary hey?

But is the foam a bit heavy perhaps?  What if we used very bright yarn only?  Or better still….brightly coloured CDC. When Marc Petitjean was here this winter I saw his bright coloured CDC and I thought to myself “Now what would you use THAT for?!”.  Now I know, and I am kicking myself for not buying a pack.

But if all this is just freaking you out, and you want something that matches your tweed jacket and your wicker creel a bit better, we could just stay all conservative like and go back to this:

Reverse CDC midge-1-3

Or this:

Midge (1 of 1)-4

 

There you go. Is your pacemaker managing that a bit better?


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Photo of the moment (84)

Marc Petitjean-1


You really have to watch yourself

I read somewhere recently that the character trait in which one favours nostalgia, is in direct contrast to to the trait in which one seeks new adventure. Put another way:  If you spend your time in fond reminiscence, you are less likely to be trying new fly patterns, and new tippet rigs and heading out to new fishing destinations.

It had me thinking. I have to watch myself!

I am a nostalgic. By that very definition, I am at risk of being an old fart.

So to comfort myself I stay abreast with things and keep my mind open to new tricks and new fandangled tackle and methods. Its how you hold back on the old fart label. And it is about as effective as holding back the sea with a fork.

Just last week I had the good fortune of spending time with Marc Petitjean. As we chatted I was in a state of mind in which I was open to learning and new things. Marc is the epitome of new things in fly fishing.

As we chatted, the subject turned to a visit to South Africa some 20 years ago by Darrel Martin, Lee and Joan Wulff, Taff Price, and Gary Borger.  I told how Darrel had given me a packet of CDC all those years ago, and how, at the time, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with that packet of fluff. I gave Darrel a packet of Klipspringer in exchange, thinking to myself “Well, at least he can do something with that!”.  As I relayed that story, Marc excitedly showed me the small multi-tool on a lanyard around his neck. Darrel  Martin had given it to him 25 years earlier! Darrel was also a great support to Marc in the years in which he  first espoused the use of CDC. He included it in his books, and apparently he gave packets of CDC to people across the globe.

I mentioned that I had recently been on Skype with Darrel, and immediately Marc said “We have to take a photo of you and I and this multi tool….I want Darrel to see that I am still using it after all these years”. 

Marc Petitjean-1-2

After the photo I took out the penknife that my father gave me 25 years ago, and I started to regale Marc with stories of all the times I lost it and found it again, and how I still have it after all these years.

The next morning I coudn’t find my precious talisman anywhere, and I searched high and low…..I have since found it, and upon doing so, I turned it over lovingly in my hand and reminisced all over again.

I really have to watch myself!


How to count fish

As fishermen, we can sometimes look down on people who count their fish.  There are those who take a little toggle counter pinned to their vest, and ratchet up numbers long after dark while everyone else is around the braai fire. (Not my type!)

Then there’s the guy who says “oh …I got enough of them to make me happy”. (Bloody irritating! …but I think I have said stuff like that before)

I have to count my fish. If I didn’t, what would I write in my logbook?  I know…I don’t have to have a logbook. But I do have one, and I am a slave to it. I am  however, a happy slave, so I keep counting my fish.

Apparently I am not good at it though. On a recent fish stocking foray, I was accused of being out by about 16%. I have tried to defend myself, by pointing out that I wasn’t the guy counting….It was the hatchery bloke. My protestations are in vain it seems. My buddies are sending me fish counting literature like this:

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I just know that when the hatchery bloke doled out the fish at the penultimate destination, he asked me “Where to next?”, and “How many fish for there?”. After my answer he peered in the tank, and that’s when the colour drained from his face.

He had been counting in millilitres. That is how it has to be with these things…you can’t count two inch Browns as “one…..two…..three….”.  The hatchery bloke’s wife does that, but that’s an entirely different thing…she does it in German, and she wasn’t there that day. It’s a bit like my brother in laws idea for counting sheep: Take a tally of the number of legs passing through the gate and divide by four.  It’s damned accurate, and not only in theory.

Marc Petitjean explained the other day about counting the number of times you must spin your fly tying silk in a dubbing loop. “Its exactly like salt on your pasta” he said. “How many grains of salt?”  You will never know, except when you’ve over done it.

But enough of salt and sheep. Back to Trout and counting fish volumetrically…….. you can spin out rather badly, but one thing you can be sure of is that Trout go into the water.

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It does however occur to me, that if you ‘find X’, you will discover  with absolute certainty that the fish on the day in question were either smaller than they should have been; that each prior dam got more than we intended; or that the water between the fish was more dense on account of the rising atmospheric pressure.

That’s the sort of precision I like!

 

PS…to my buddies:  You can stop sending me fish counting literature now.