CDC IS KING! Petitjean — the Swiss legend live in SA
By Gordon van der Spuy

IT’S not every day that you get to meet a French/Swiss legend of cdc so when I did get the opportunity I grabbed it with both hands.

At first glance Marc Petitjean is a very ordinary looking guy; he seems somewhat mundane in fact. That is until he starts jamming jazz on the piano and tying flies. There is nothing ordinary about this rather reserved and calm looking guy.

I first met Marc in New Jersey at the International Fly Tying Symposium in the USA in 2016. He travels to an average of 17 shows a year which is a rather busy schedule if one considers that these events are all over the world. He works hard at what he does and is something of a workaholic.

Marc has been extolling the virtues of cdc the world over since the early ’90s when he was instrumental in bringing this great material to the attention of the rest of the world. Before the ’90s cdc was a relatively unknown fly-tying material outside Europe. That’s hard to believe considering how popular cdc is nowadays.

Marc took cdc and revolutionised the way in which people worked with the material. He was one of the first people to start utilising these feathers as body material by twisting and wrapping the feathers to create a very simple yet effective body. His entire creative philosophy is based on function — flies are tied to catch fish, he doesn’t care about making pretty flies. Marc’s entire focus is on creating patterns which are quick and easy to tie, and which are effective fish takers.

Whilst in the ’States I told Marc that we have a flyfishing show in South Africa and asked if he’d be interested in visiting us. I sensed he was apprehensive but I couldn’t really understand why. It was only later that I found out that Marc was scheduled to visit us in 2012 for a flyfishing expo in Pretoria which didn’t materialise, and the bad experience had made him wary.

Last year in Somerset I managed to chat to him and assured him that if he did visit us we’d show him the time of his life. After that the work really started. It took six months to get Marc to commit to coming as he’s exceptionally busy and is very hard to pin down. Moreno Borriero was eventually instrumental in getting Marc to come out here. After Marc said he’d join us, I announced the news to everyone, but with three weeks to go his flight wasn’t yet booked! I won’t lie, I was relieved the day he arrived in Durban.

Read the full story in the October 2017 issue of FLYFISHING magazine.
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