Tying down hackle? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tying down hackle?

04-06-2003, 11:21 PM
Thanks to everyone who has answered my questions so far. You guys are a real help to a beginner like myself.I'm having another problem that hopefully someone can help me with.

I tie two pieces of hackle to the shank, just behind the wings of my Adams dry fly, and begin wrapping hackle towards the eye. However, the hackle often comes loose before I can finish wrapping the hackle. I try to take great care when tying down the hackle, but I am still having problems with the hackle coming loose. What could be the problem? Do I need to put down a drop of head cement before I tie on the hackle?

I started tying size 12's without many problems, but now that I've moved on to a size 16 the hackle often comes loose. I've noticed the hackle seems to twist about its stem more than when I tied size 12 flies. Could this twisting of the hackle cause the hackle pieces to come loose from the hook shank?

04-07-2003, 08:27 AM
First off, try securing the hackle as you tie it in with a couple of extra turns of thread.

Next, wind each hackle individually, taking care NOT to twist 'em. (Twisting weakens hackle.) Secure the individual hackle, then start the second one using the same care, don't twist it, and secure it at the head.

Good hackle pliers will help in this task.

Hope this helps.


04-07-2003, 08:49 AM
I find that using 8/0 thread and making plenty of firm wraps around the base of the hackle will keep it in place. I would not reccomend using the head cement as this will just make it sink faster.

Is the hackle breaking at the tie-in point or simply slipping out?

Agree that I good set of hackle pliers helps. After each wrap, you can hang the pliers under the hook to unwind the hackle and then take another wrap.

Good luck,


John Desjardins
04-07-2003, 08:53 AM
When you prepare the feather for tying in trim the feathers ~ 1/16" from the stem rather than stripping off the feather. This gives a better grip on the stem. And like Bob says wind one feather at a time.