CDC Pheasant Tail

Pattern Description:

This fly is more properly called the Tungsten Bead Head CDC Flashback Pheasant Tail, but that is such a mouthful, I had to shorten it a bit. I was first introduced to this fly by a guide on the Roaring Fork River who loved the pattern for an emerging Green Drake. The fly was developed by Randall Kauffman, and has become one of my favorites for the H/C/D rig. I tied a few up and have used them extensively over the past few years and they always produce. The CDC is a bit of a mystery to most tyers, as it is normally associated with dry fly patterns rather than heavily weighted nymphs. I believe the CDC collar on this fly mimics emerging wings and is the ultimate soft hackle on a sunken fly. When wetted, the CDC becomes very alive and wiggly in the water and has fish-attracting powers to be reckoned with. I most recently used this pattern (along with a Soft Hackle Emerger) on the Arkansas River while floating with Uber-Guide Larry Friedrichs. I had an incredible day fishing the Hopper/Copper/Dropper rig with the big BHFBCDCPT and a Soft Hackle Emerger on the dropper. This is a great *option* fly to have in your box when you just need something a little different.

Materials Needed:
Hook: TMC 5262 #10-16
Bead: Copper Tungsten Bead
Weight: Lead Wire
Tail: Dyed Orange or other color pheasant tail barbs
Rib: Copper-Brown Ultra Wire, small size.
Flashback : Pearl Flashabou
Wingcase: Pearl Mini Flat Braid
Thorax: Peacock Herl twisted with fine copper wire.
Collar: Natural Dun CDC wrapped as a soft hackle collar

Step 1
Place the bead on the hook with the small hole toward the hook eye. Wrap about 13 turns of lead wire on the shank behind the bead. Keep these turns butted closely together. Break the ends off the lead wire with your thumbnail and shove the turns up into the back of the bead. They should countersink into the bead a bit. Start the tying thread (Rusty Brown 6/0) right behind the lead wraps and build a small dam of thread tapering up from the bare shank to the lead wire.

Step 2
Continue the thread wraps over the lead wire, smoothing the surface of the lead in the process. Wrap the thread smoothly back to the bend of the hook. Clip a clump of about ten pheasant tail fibers from the feather and even the tips. Measure this clump against the hook shank so they are about half a shank length long.

Step 3
Place this clump of pheasant tail fibers at the bend of the hook and tie them in so they extend beyond the bend of the hook about one half a shank length. Make sure the tails are tied in on TOP of the hook shank.

Step 4
Wrap forward over the butt ends of the pheasant tail fibers up to just behind the bead. Try to keep the wraps tight and smooth as you go, making for a smooth underbody later.

Step 5
Tie in a piece of small Copper Brown Ultra Wire behind the bead and wrap back over it to the bend of the hook/base of the tail. Be sure to make these wraps very tight as you go to anchor the wire down tightly.

Step 6
Move the thread forward about one fourth of a shank length from the bend and tie in a single strand of pearl Flashabou at the center of its length. Double the front end of the Flashabou back over the back end and tie both pieces down to the bend leaving TWO strands of Flashabou hanging off the bend right on top of the tail.

Step 7
Return the tying thread to about one fourth of a shank length back from the bead.

Step 8
Clip another clump of about ten pheasant tail fibers from the quill and tie them in by their tips at the 75% point on the shank.

Step 9
Wrap back over the pheasant tail fibers to the bend of the hook making a smooth thread base as you go. Return the thread to the 75% point. Add a drop of head cement at this point so we can wrap the pheasant tail fibers over the wet cement to create some more durability here.

Step 10
Wrap the pheasant tail fibers forward over the wet cement in nice smooth turns with the fibers lying one next to the other. You do not want to twist the fibers as you wrap, try to get them to lie flat along the shank as shown here. Tie the pheasant tail fibers off at the 80% point on the shank with a few tight turns of thread.

Step 11
Cut the butt ends of the pheasant tail fibers flush against the shank. Pull both strands of Flashabou forward over the top pf the abdomen and tie them down at the 80% point. Be sure to keep the flash centered over the abdomen.

Step 12
Counter Wrap the copper wire forward through the abdomen over the flashabou. Make six or seven turns and tie off the wire at the front of the abdomen.

Step 13
Tie in a strand of Pearl Mini Flat Braid just behind the bead and wrap back over it to the 60% point. Be sure to keep the Braid flat across the top of the abdomen and thorax area and centered across the top of the hook.

Step 14
Tie in a piece of FINE copper wire at the base of the wingcase (pearl mini flat braid). We will use this to twist with the peacock herl coming in the next steps.

Step 15
Tie in eight or ten peacock herls from the eye of quill by their tip ends at the back of the bead. Wrap back over the peacock herls to the base of the wingcase.

Step 16
Wrap the peacock herls around the wire several times and then twist both the wire and the peacock together forming a wire cored cable of peacock. I roll the wire and peacock between my fingers to get the herl really wrapped tightly around the wire. This step makes the peacock much more durable.

Step 17
Detail of the peacock/wire brush we have just made.

Step 18
Add a shot of head cement to the thread wraps in the thorax area of the fly before we wrap the herl brush.

Step 19
Wrap the peacock and wire brush forward to the back of the bead and tie it all off there. Clip the excess flush with the back of the bead.

Step 20
Pull the pearl mini flat braid over the top of the peacock thorax and tie it off with a couple tight turns of thread right behind the bead. Do NOT clip the excess just yet…

Step 21
Double the long end of the pearl braid back and anchor it down again with a few more wraps of thread. Folding the braid like this creates a significantly more durable wingcase and prevents it from pulling out later.

Step 22
Tie in a single CDC feather by its tip. Peel the fluffy crap off the base of the feather first and preen the fibers back a bit so they stand out from the center quill.

Step 23
Detail of the feather tie in at the back of the bead.

Step 24
Peel the fibers off the inside of the CDC feather, leaving the fibers that will be on the outside of the turn as you wrap the feather around the hook.

Step 25
Wrap the CDC feather forward making one and a half to two turns right behind the bead. Tie the feather off behind the bead with a couple tight wraps of thread.

Step 26
Clip the butt end of the CDC feather flush and pull all the remaining fibers back along the body of the fly with your material hand. Make several turns of thread over the stem of the feather behind the bead. These wraps will sweep the fibers back a bit and cover the stem and protect it from breaking later. We think of everything, don’t we??

Step 27
Whip finish right behind the bead while holding the CDC fibers back and out of the way.

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