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First published August 15th 2003 - More than 12 years ago
The C&F extended tube body tool is more than two darning needles in a fancy holder.
by Henk Verhaar
A couple of years ago, Christian Billard introduced his readymade, lifelike hollow extended fly bodies, aptly named Tube Bodiz (he is a Frenchman, after all) to the world.
There are currently several manufacturers selling these or similar readymade extended bodies under sometimes very similar names. Czech Siman and also French Bidoz are two well known suppliers.
As I am quite partial to do-it-yourself, and therefore no big fan of readymade tying materials, I never bought any of these products - just like I only started using dubbing brushes after acquiring a (or actually several) contraptions to make these brushes myself.
The C&F tool basically is nothing more than a darning needle - just like the makeshift tools I had seen others use. However, what sets it apart from other darning needles are three things:
So how does this tool work?
Then completed body can then be pushed off the needle, using your thumb and index finger nails. After drying, the body tube is ready to be attached to a hook and converted into a fly (see sequence).
The nice thing about making body tubes yourself is that you can add all kinds of embellishments, a.k.a. realistic additions, such as segmentation ribs, mayfly tails, trailing shucks, dragonfly nymph gills, or mayfly nymph side filaments, using moose mane hairs, marabou, ostrich, antron, you name it (see picture).
What's more, since you're making the tubes, you can integrate these additions in the body itself, like wrapping the tails into the body (see sequence), or attaching the ostrich filaments' while ribbing. Ribbing by the way is preferably done when the flexament is still wet; this is were the vice adapter comes in handy. I've also found that since I wrap the ribbing tip to base, front to back (see picture), it is best to wrap the dubbing material back to front, i.e. counterclockwise when seen from tip to base of the needle.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all dubbing materials are suited for this technique. You'll want a long-staple material with lots of 'cling', which usually means underfur from large animals, with lots of long fuzz. Rabbit, hare, or small rodents don't work worth a dime. Arctic fox and similar stuff can be used, if handled carefully. My favourites though are camel dry fly dubbing and good old sheep's fleece; these materials can be roped and wrapped around the needle without even looking, so much 'cling' do they possess. Musk ox underfur may also work, although it is hard to come by and comes in one colour only...
So is this tools worth its money? As all C&F tools, it is quite, even overly, expensive, at approximately €38.- (Approx. US$ 35.-)retail. However, this is one C&F gadget that I would not want to be without ever again (and hey, you don't have to tell me I am a gadget freak...)