That Swiss CDC clamp is worth every penny. I've tied deer hair hackle wets that are truly unique, sporting a sparse hackle, one turn of deer hair, on a classic wet fly body. I put Dave Hughes' advice on tying wet flies with fur to get really sparse and effective fur collars on my wets using the Swiss CDC clamp; this essentially created whole new series of flies. I am testing to see which catch more fish the game bird hackles or the fur hackles or mixed hackles. I also upgraded my trout spey flies by tying a sparse collar of moose mane then applying ostrich barbs as a front collar. The difference in action between stiff moose mane under the ostrich and soft ostrich in front makes the fly undulate even in a slow swing.
Also useful is the ability to save the remnant of a cool feather and spin it into a hackle with an automatic thorax. Those few woodcock feather barbs left over after tying a standard hackle get used. The effect is slightly different, but definitely fishable. I can turn almost anything into a decent throat hackle by spinning it in a loop, taking one turn around the hook shank then backing thread over it while I hold the throat hackle down below the shank with my fingers. I feel like I'm saving a lot more money on materials than the cost of the clamp.* You can get some wild hackles using this thing. Some of my experiments definitely bordered on the Frankenstein side of the tying aesthetic.
Thread strength matters. I use Veevus 10/0 for my standard trout wet flies. Uni 8/0 isn't strong enough. For larger flies like steelhead or trout spey flies, Veevus 8/0 or even 6/0 work great. I use the OPST dubbing spinner, about two to three good spins. I don't use dubbing wax for feathers or most fur, but do use it for composite loops for dubbing, deer hair and flash. I use Loon Swax (sticky) very, very sparingly. One stick will last 5 lifetimes of daily tying.
I use a Loon pawn to hang the dubbing loop while I prepare materials and load into the clamp. I pay attention to how far up the curved edge my materials sit. That's what makes the Swiss CDC clamp better than a standard office paper clamp. The sweeping curve of the upper edge lets you work small, in the hook sizes on which flymphs are typically tied. Make sure to hang your dubbing spinner on the dubbing loop before you slip the clamp in. Slow and easy lets you create really delicate hackle. Placing the index finger behind the dubbing loop before spinning let's you disperse or adjust the contents of the loop with the tip of a blunt bodkin. If you are trimming the material in a loop, for example rabbit fur, you need a steady hand and sharp scissors. Less is more. Practice makes perfect.
Once you get the hang of it, that clamp is wonderful. It opens up new possibilities.
Btw, I don't have any financial ties in any way, I'm just a fan.
Boris in Ohio (bocast)
* Any feeling of saving money in any aspect of fly tying is mere delusion, made obvious by doing an inventory of what one spends on material. That's why I never do an inventory...
I fish wet flies with faith and hope, faith that trout don't require exactitude and hope that when my time comes, God will explain why wet flies work...