The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

Archive for February 1, 2013

Fly tying course # 1 Getting started

This on line fly tying course will be dedicated to showing those of you who are new to fly tying all the correct moves and techniques for successful tying. Once learned, these techniques will not only make tying more fun, but you will also find with time and practice that each stage will become quicker and more natural for you, resulting in more and better flies.


The correct way to secure a hook in the vice.

This may sound like we are truly beginning at the basics, but all these small tips will help you to learn the right way. If you make a habit of following them every time you tie, you will succeed as a proficient fly tyer.  I will be posting 4 or 5 new fly tying lessons each week, so try and practice so you are ready for the next one. If you hit a wall, dont give up! Try again and if you really get stuck, send me a message and I will try and help you out. GOOD LUCK!

Most modern fly tying vices have a tension screw and lever.  Although some models have the tension screw mounted as a collar just in front of the lever or behind the jaws.

This is the correct way to insert and secure a hook.

If you would like to receive a message when the next stage of the course is published, just add your e mail address at the top right of this page. Thanks, The feather bender.



Firstly you must open the tension lever on the jaws and offer the hook being used, up into the open jaws.  If the opening between the jaws is not wide enough, open the the jaws tension screw until the hook fits snugly.



Once you have positioned the hook correctly, at the base of the hook bend and just behind the barb in the vice jaws, adjust the jaw tension screw again but this time tightening it until it holds the hook firmly in position.



Now with your right hand carefully adjust the hook shank until horizontal. You can now apply full pressure to the jaws by  tightening the tension lever.



You can check if the hook is secured correctly by plucking it, like a jews harp, with your thumb nail. If it makes a “ping” sound you have done everything right. If it moves in the jaws, start again until secure.




In many older fly tying books they recommend that you secure the hook so the point is hidden in the jaws. This was to avoid catching and damaging your tying thread, but this also restricts tying access to the rear of the hook shank. Once you have learned to avoid catching your thread on the hook point it’s not an issue.

If you have any questions about fly tying, techniques, hooks or materials please post them here and I will do my very best to answer them quickly.  


On line fly tying course for beginners

Calling on all my fly tying friends, the future of our craft needs your support !

As most of you who are reading this are already advanced fly tyers and friends, I hope you will help me, help others, who are new to our craft. As you are aware, it’s not easy starting to tie flies without some good fundamental tuition in choice of materials, hooks, tools and techniques. In order to help those of all ages that are new to fly tying,  I would like to start a free on line tutorial and Q & A column, that will cover all the basic’s, and guide the beginner from the correct way to secure a hook in the vice to the finished fishing fly and many more useful techniques in between.  From my own experience through holding hundreds of courses, many of those who try to learn to tie flies without any tuition FAIL and seldom return to our craft, but those who are given a enthusiastic introduction with basic instruction, generally carry on tying flies there whole life and introduce others to the art of fly tying.


My intention is to publish four or five tutorials each week  so the beginner has time to practice each one before moving on to the next. All of which will remain online for future reference. I would also like to involve all the great fly tyers out there helping with the Q & A column. Your accumulated fly tying knowledge cant be found in books!

So please share this with your fly tying friends, translate it, if you can, and share on facebook, blogs, websites, local clubs, schools, magazines and anyone you know who would like to learn to tie flies. 

To receive each post of the course, all you have to do is sign up by entering your e mail address on the top right hand side of this page and follow the feather bender.

I thank you in advance for your time and support.


CdC tutorial with Marc Petitjean part 1

This is a tutorial I made with my good friend Marc Petitjean to demonstrate how he uses the magic tool and a few other CdC techniques he has up his sleeve.

Marc Petitjean is a master with CdC, and without doubt, one of the main reasons for its popularity today.  Photo copyright Barry Ord Clarke.

Marc Petitjean is a master with CdC, and without doubt, one of the main reasons for its popularity today. Photo copyright Barry Ord Clarke.

If you are not familiar with Marc’s tools and materials they really are the bee’s knee’s. Super high quality Swiss made Vices and ingenious, yet simple to use tools and his CdC is some of the continuously best available.

This is the step by step for one of Marc’s quick and simple CdC body and caddis wing. The vice, tools and all materials used are Marc’s own and are available from


1. Once your hook is secure in the vice attach you tying thread.


2. Select a nice large CdC hackle and place it up towards the hook shaft and tying thread.


3. With a couple of loose turns of tying thread, catch the CdC hackle and slowly pull towards you.


4. Once you have reached the point of the hackle secure it well with a few tight turns of tying thread.


5. Tie down the end of the hackle to the hook shank and attach your hackle pliers at the base of the shaft.


6. When your hackle pliers are attached make a couple of turns of the hackle while holding the fibers into the hackle stem, but only a couple.


7. Once the hackle stem is twisted you are ready to start winding it on.


8. Holding the CdC hackle tight make your first turn around the hook shank. You are going to use the twisted CdC hackle as a dubbing rope.


9. Once you have made one turn of the hackle, hold the fibers into the hackle shaft again and twist only once or twice.


10. Repeat the turn and twist until the whole hook shank is covered. Its very important that you dont twist the hackle all in one go and then wind it on the hook shank. This will lead to the hackle breaking when you try to wind it on.


11. Once the hackle is wound on, with a little room left behind the hook eye for the wing tie it off.


12. Trim off the excess hackle.


13. Your caddis body should now look like this.


14. With a pair of small sharp scissors carefully trim off the protruding CdC fibers from the body.


15. Now you should have a fine segmented spun CdC caddis body as here.


16. Select three similar lengthen CdC hackles of your chosen colour.


17. Take each hackle and hold horizontally.


18. Carefully draw the fibers so they are 90 degrees to the hackle stem.


19. The correctly prepared hackles should look like this.


20. Once all three hackles are prepared lie them on top of each other as shown.


21. Choose the size of magic tool appropriate for the hook size used.


22. Take hold of all three hackles at the same time and pre s down into the magic tool.


23. Once in the magic tool trim off the ends of the CdC on both sides of the tool. This is very important otherwise the CdC will hang up in the spring of the clip.


24. Now place the receiving clip over the fibers of the CdC in the first clip.


25. Once the receiving clip is in place release the first clip and remove the CdC.


26. Now trim off the hackle stems.


27. Your CdC should now look like this, ready to place in the dubbing loop.


28. Split your thread and place the CdC clip in the loop. Holding the loop closed with your right hand.


29. Remove the clip.


30. You can now spin your tying thread just a few times with your fingers to hold everything in place for the big spin.


31. While holding your bobbin up with the tying thread hanging on your finger between the bobbin and the dubbing, spin your bobbin clockwise.


32. Once the bobbin has spun a little, put tension in the tying thread by pulling slightly on the bobbin and then run your index finger and thumb, up along the tying thread towards the dubbing. This will set tension in the thread and tighten the spin in your dubbing brush.


33. Now wind on your CdC dubbing brush, but take care to hold ALL the CdC fibers back in the wing position with every turn. That means after each turn of dubbing collect all the fibers from under the fly and hold as shown-


34. Once all the dubbing is wound on, while holding the wing in place make a few turns of tying thread to hold it in the correct position.


35. Whip finish.


36. Trim off the rear of the wing. About a half hook length from the hook bend.


37. Turn your fly up side down and pull the whole wing down on each side of the fly. Trim off the surplus on the underside.


38. The finished Petitjean CdC caddis. Although this has been a rather lengthy tutorial, Marc ties this extremely effective pattern in under 3 minutes.

The vice, tools and all materials used are Marc’s own and are available from