What’s a good replacement for CDC?
QTry as I might, I cannot get on with CDC. I’ve now given up so don’t try to persuade me! Can you suggest a couple of alternatives to the CDC F-Fly and the CDC Shuttlecock? I’ve been trying poly yarn and think it might be the answer but expert tips would be much appreciated. David Farnsworth PAUL PROCTER REPLIES: I hear what you’re saying about CDC (cul de canard). While I enjoy using flies dressed with CDC, they are temperamental and sometimes require plenty of TLC to keep them afloat. For my money the two alternatives I’d turn to are snowshoe hare fur and TMC Aero Dry Wing. Snowshoe hare is an extremely buoyant and resilient natural fur found on the underside of the snowshoe hare’s foot. While it can be used as dubbing, these fibres lend themselves to making natural looking, delicate dry fly wings and posts. Some debate exists as to whether the fur should be tied in by the tips, or butts. These days, I prefer securing the tips to the hook shank (see picture below) as this way the butt section flares quite readily to achieve a pleasing wing. Unlike CDC, snowshoe fur can be treated using various floatants, including gel like Ginks and Mucilin paste. TMC Aero Dry Wing is a synthetic yarn consisting of polypropylene. If this isn’t buoyant enough, each strand is hollow to improve floatability. For me the more desirable characteristics are the extremely fine fibres and that the material comes in 4-ply making it easy to gauge wing density. Unlike natural fur, the fibres are not tapered, so a little bulk might occur when tying in hooks smaller than size 16. That said, this is an excellent material available in a wide range of colours, making it perfect for winging dry flies. Due to tapering hairs, it could be argued the snowshoe fur suits patterns like the shuttlecock-style, or F-Fly, whereas TMC Aero Dry Wing is perfect for tying parachutes, comparaduns and spinners. Given this, I personally make a point of using both these materials.
Snowshoe hare's fur is both buoyant and resilient.
TMC Aero Dry Wing is a perfect winging material.