Today, author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going to prepare for you a blue-winged olive version of the Puff Daddy. This tasty little morsel, made with only two ingredients, has proven itself to be all but irresistible to even the finickiest of trout. Bon appetit.
Matt starts with a Hanak H100BL dry fly hook in a size 18. I’ll leave you to guess what type of thread he’s using. Start your thread about 1/3 of the way down the shank and take wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. End with your thread a short distance back from the hook point.
The body of the fly can be made with a biot, stripped quill or dubbing. Here, Matt’s using olive Aussie Possum. Form an ever-so-slender dubbing noodle on your tying thread. For this size 18 hook, it need only be about an inch and a quarter long. Start taking wraps with the noodle so the dubbing begins at the start of the hook bend. Continue making touching wraps forward to build up a tapered body ending at the initial tie-in point. Give your bobbin a counterclockwise spin to uncord and flatten the thread. Then take wraps with the flattened thread to lightly coat the bare hook shank.
This is one of those times where it really pays to be picky about materials. Matt starts with high quality natural dun CDC feathers and takes it a step further by culling a thin stemmed short feather from the herd. The thin stem will allow for more wraps around the hook shank and thus a fuller, more floaty CDC collar. Orient the feather so its concave side faces down. Gently preen the CDC fibers rearward to expose just the very tip of the feather. Give your bobbin a light clockwise spin, this time to cord up the thread and give it some bite. Then use it to secure the feather’s stem to the top of the hook shank. Next, reach in with your tying scissors and carefully snip the excess tip of the CDC feather off close. Take a few extra tight wraps of tying thread to ensure the stem won’t pull free and then leave your thread right behind the hook eye.
Get hold of the butt end of the CDC feather with hackle pliers and preen the fibers to fold them back. With the fibers pointing rearward, start taking adjacent wraps with the feather around the hook shank. You can see here why it’s desirable to have a thin stem. After 4 or 5 turns, strip any extra fibers free from the stem, down to the tie-in point, then take another wrap with the stem around the hook shank. Use your tying thread to secure the stem really well. With it locked down, reach in with the very tips of your tying scissors and snip the excess butt end off close. Do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish, seat the knot firmly and then snip or cut your tying thread free.
With your bodkin, preen out any trapped fibers so the CDC forms a nice fluffy collar. Finally, pull and collect the fibers rearward and use your fingernails to trim them off so they extend to about the back edge of the hook bend.
Puff Daddys float remarkably well all on their own but if they do get waterlogged or slimed, rinse them off, blot them dry, apply a desiccant like Frog’s Fanny and they’re once again ready to fish.