Al Campbell, Field Editor

April 26th, 2004

Basic Magic Baetis Mayfly

Al Campbell

There have been a lot of questions regarding Marc PetitJean's Magic Tools lately. Personally, I think Marc is a genius; not because of his tying style, but because of his observation and ingenuity. His tools are unique and work very well.

I'll show you more patterns using the Magic Tools in the future, but I want to start by showing you a basic mayfly using Marc's style of tying. Since no two tiers tie alike, my flies won't look like Marc's, but they will show you the basic steps required to tie with a Magic Tool set.

First, I need to show you what a Magic Tool set looks like.

It consists of three tables, two clamps and three grooved dowels. You'll see a table and clamp used in this article, and future articles. The dowels are for wrapping long materials like Crystal Flash around them so the material can be trimmed to an exact length. You just wrap the material and trim it by cutting it with a razor or fine point scissors. The grooves serve as a guide for scissor points or a razor.

Since there are a lot more pictures in this article, I won't use up any more space with text here. You'll get the idea as we go along.

Materials Basic Magic Baetis Mayfly:

  • Hook: Any standard dry fly hook. I'm using a size 16 Mustad 94840 dry fly hook.

  • Tail: Dark dun hackle fibers.

  • Body: A twisted CDC feather.

  • Thread: 6/0 - Black monocord.

  • Wing: CDC fibers, spun in a split thread technique.

Tying steps:

    1. Start the thread.

    2. Add a tail of dark dun hackle fibers.

    3. Tie a CDC feather in by the tip using one or two loose wraps.

    4. Pull the CDC feather through the wraps until you can secure the tip, then tie it down to the hook.

    5. Now twist the feather until it forms a type of rope or thread.

    6. Wrap the body forward keeping the CDC feather twisted as you go. I'm using a Peak rotary vise, so this is easy to do. It isn't hard if you use a regular vise either. Just keep the CDC twisted as you wrap.

    7. When you get near the hook eye, tie the CDC off.

    8. Trim the CDC feather stem and the loose CDC fibers around the body.

    9. Now, take two or three CDC feathers and lay them on top of one of the tables as shown. I'm using the middle-sized table here, but the size of your fly will dictate what size table you will need to use.

    10. Grasp the feather by the ends as shown.

    11. And, push them down into the table as shown.

    12. Trim the ends of the CDC feathers at the edge of the table.

    13. Next, take one of the clamps, open it up, and slide it down over the ends of the CDC fibers sticking out of the table.

    14. Now, squeeze the table open and remove the feathers that are secured in the clamp. You should be able to plainly see the stems of the feathers.

    15. Trim the feather stems off with your scissors. Set the clamp aside for later use.

    16. Next, split the thread with a needle. Some thread doesn't split very well, so I use a type of thread that isn't twisted.

    17. Keep the thread spread apart while you insert the CDC in the clamp between the thread.

    18. Next, twist the thread so that the CDC fibers spin. You should be able to do this by spinning the bobbin.

    19. Start wrapping your CDC "hackle".

    20. As you wrap the CDC hackle, pull it backward and upward so that most of the fibers end up on top of the hook.

    21. Your fly will look fairly unruly when you get to the end of the hackle wrapping.

    22. Pull the loose CDC fibers back and build a head.

    23. Whip finish and trim the thread.

    24. Trim the loose fibers on the bottom of the fly.

    25. Then trim the wing to about the hook bend.

    26. Clean up any loose fibers. I leave the fly a little ragged because the extra CDC just adds to the flotation abilities of the fly.

    27. Your finished fly should look somewhat like this.

It really isn't that hard to tie this way. The steps are simple and the materials are simple. The fly that results is simple, but it floats very well and the fish like it. I suppose that is all that really counts. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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