The CDC Attractor

Flies With a Story


Flies With a Story #64

"... an enticing all-round trout fly...."


Flytier: Hermann Schibli of Manchester, NH and Germany

Although a native of Germany, most of Hermann's years have been spent in the USA, where he started fly fishing in Michigan and New Hampshire. Currently living in Germany, most of his angling is now in Austria, where he prefers to fish for rainbows, browns, and grayling, with bamboo and dries. Herm periodically returns to the States to fish with his American buddies.

Read Hermann's other stories:
The Serendipity
Hermann's Smuddler

This fly is a version of the Red Grayling Attractor, a fly by Walter Reisinger featured recently in a German fly fishing magazine (Fliegenfischen 1, Jan/Feb 2005). The original is tied with red thread and has a long conish head which the author additionally coated with red lacquer. As the name implies, the fly according to the author is a great hit with grayling. I thought that with a few changes it might also be an enticing all-round trout fly. I changed the thread color to yellow, eliminated the long pointed head, and trimmed the hackle on the bottom. The CDC tail and the CDC fibers in the body, I was thinking, should give it a good floating quality as well as a buggy look, while it would sit low in the surface film because of the scud hook and the trimmed hackle. So after tying a few, I was anxious to try them on one of the Austrian rivers I fish, the Ager.

The first chance I got to fish the Ager, armed with my new CDC Attractors (for want of a better name), the water was high but clear. I was checking out this long, straight stretch in the dry-fly-only section and saw a few little rises. This piece of water is notoriously difficult to fish, because the fish hold fairly close to the bank (sometimes you can spot them finning above and alongside the submerged rocks) yet you can't stand in the middle of the river and fish to shore because the central current is very strong. So you have to perch on one of the underwater rocks -- thankfully, many of them are flat enough to stand on -- and cast either directly downstream or upstream. I got in the water a little ways above the rises, cast at an angle downstream and let the fly drift into the target zone. After the line straightened out, I let the fly sit below me for a while and then retrieved it. I got a small trout that way, probably one of the little risers, but this didn't tell me much about the fly, since dinky kamikaze trout tend to hit almost anything. However, after a few more casts a decent rainbow took the fly at the end of the drift, and later in the evening a heavy fish gulped it during the drift. I played that fish a while, felt his heft but never got to see it because the barbless hook somehow pulled free. I called it a day then, disappointed at having lost a good fish but feeling very encouraged about these CDC Attractors.

On my second outing to the Ager my confidence in this fly got an additional boost. I was walking along the same stretch of the river and saw a couple of nice rainbows; one of them even rose. This time I got in below the fish and cast upstream. This wasn't easy because the high bank on my right made it impossible to cast on that side, so I had to make backhanded casts over my left shoulder and also keep clear of a bush hanging out into the water behind me. After a few attempts I got a nice drift over the fish yet no takers! But you see, I had come from another part of the river where I had been fishing a small deer hair caddis, and now, in my eagerness to get to these fish, I hadn't changed flies. So I got out one of the CDC Attractors, tied it on, and on the first proper drift one of the bows rose up and took it ever so nicely, a fish of about 15 inches. I didn't get the second one -- must have scared him off -- but I walked downstream, saw another bow, again about a 15-incher, and got him too by the same method and with the same fly. These experiments were enough to make me a believer in the CDC Attractor. I don't know what it imitates exactly. Because it rides low, it would probably be best described as an emerger, but it could also pass as a spent, and we know that trout often take these even when there aren't any spinners on the water. But no matter. It looks buggy and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for finicky trout.

--Hermann Schibli


The CDC Attractor

 Photo by Peter Frailey

Materials and Tying Sequence:

Hook: TMC 2488 size 16
Thread: Yellow 8/0
Tail: CDC tip topped with a few strands of flat, pearlescent Mylar
Body: One peacock herl entwined with CDC
Hackle: Light dun, trimmed on the bottom

A Few Tying Tips:

Wrap the thread way down into bend of the hook (this is the part that penetrates the surface film) and back up to where the shank begins to be straight. There tie in the tip of a CDC feather (I use my smallest CDC feathers for this purpose), only extending in length half the hook shank, and top it with a few, say three, strands of flat Mylar or anything else that's a bit flashy. Tie in one peacock herl and at the same spot make a small dubbing loop in which to trap the fibers from one side of a CDC feather (I use a plastic office clip). Twirl the peacock herl and dubbing loop of CDC into a strand and wrap 2/3rds of the hook, leaving enough room for the hackle. Tie in the hackle and trim the bottom. Go fishing!


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