Small Soft Hackles: Update

I wrote last summer how a small CDC soft hackle was my #1 fly. So, I’m reloading the fly box in anticipation of BWO hatches and lower flows in July and August, when bugs are small and fish are leery of larger flies. The rain also makes for a great excuse to sit at the tying bench.

If you look at the original post, I write about how I put on the CDC fibers: spin the bobbin counter-clockwise to flatten the thread, split the thread, put in the fibers, spin clockwise to cord up the thread, etc.

The new tweaks include applying dubbing wax to the split thread to better hold onto the wispy and fragile CDC fibers. I also use a dubbing clip. It really helps stabilize the fibers as I slide them gingerly into the split thread. A great invention!



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5 thoughts on “Small Soft Hackles: Update

  1. Starling works well for me on the smaller soft hackles. Speaking of dubbing clips I recently purchased the Petijean tool kit and it has improved my cdc flies for sure.


  2. Oh boy. . . I’ve been looking at getting one of those clip tools for some time, but a voice in my head keeps chanting; “no more tools”. I think you’ve convinced me.

    I love CDC, but once it gets slimed it’s done. Any thoughts on how to rejuvenate it?

    1. I don’t think there’s a great answer.

      I don’t think it matters much for wet flies/nymphs.

      Here’s what I do for dries. Dunk the fly in the water and shake it around. Put on Frog’s Fanny, which works great on CDC. Also, never put regular floatant on CDC dries–they just dampen the fibers.

      I think the bigger problem is that CDC fibers break easily. So, after a fish or two, I notice that many of my flies are nearly bald. I keep all of those old flies and either X-acto them down back to the metal and re-tie them, or add another turn or two of CDC to “recycle.”

    2. Same! Resisted for a long time, but, finally crumbled. And, I’m glad I did, as I love making soft hackles.

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