Cul de canard is one of the most important feathers for tying high-floating dry flies. Try this method for creating durable parachute collars using these fragile feathers.
[by Barry Clarke]
THERE ARE MANY TECHNIQUES FOR WRAPPING PARACHUTE HACKLES. Some methods are traditional, and others are more contemporary. Because of their potential floating and casting qualities, I wanted to develop parachute hackles using cul de canard feathers. CDC parachute hackles should resemble, function, and last as long as regular parachute hackles, and they should not interfere with the abdomen and thoraxes of the finished flies. Switzerland’s Marc Petitjean, who is a master at tying with cul de canard, inspired my method.
There are a few things you should know about working with cul de canard. The CDC used for this technique should have both long stems and fibers. These large feathers yield a lot of fibers and make wrapping the parachute collars easier. We will trim the fibers to length after completing the flies.
Veniard polypropylene yarn works well for the welded wing posts. If you don’t have Veniard yarn, test the polypropylene yarn you do have to make sure it melts easily; it should melt, not burn. I have tried some yarns that have very high heat tolerances and catch fire before they melt. When melting the wing posts, I use a cauterizing tool rather than a lighter so I do not singe the cul de canard fibers.
There’s not much more to say about his valuable tying method. You will discover a lot more examining the accompanying photographs. Practice and you’ll quickly learn to use this technique. I know you will be pleased with the fishing qualities of the finished flies.
Para-welded Quill Mayfly
Hook: Mustad R30, sizes 16 to 10.
Thread: Gel spun. Tail: Coq de Leon.
Wing post: Polypropylene yarn.
Abdomen: Stripped peacock herl quill.
Thorax: Peacock herl.
Hackle: Two cul de canard feathers.
Note: This is a pattern recipe for a general mayfly imitation. Select materials in colors to match the insects living on your favorite waters.
Tying the Body of the Para-welded Quill Mayfly
Making the CDC Parachute Hackle
Completing the Para-welded Quill Mayfly
Barry Clarke is a leading fly designer and professional photographer. His website, www.thefeatherbender.com, is full of great patterns, fly tying videos, and much more. Barry lives in Norway