Soft Hackle & Synthetic Tails? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Soft Hackle & Synthetic Tails?

04-09-2003, 10:32 PM
I've seen several tyers use hen hackle tips for dry fly wings. Many think they provide a more realistic looking wing as opposed to hair, duck quill, and rooster hackle tips. Anybody have an opinion on using hen hackle tips for dry fly wings? Also where is the best place to buy soft (hen) hackle? Haven't seen it offered much either in stores or online.

Also, has anyone used synthetic fibers for tails on dry flys, specifically mayfly imitations? They look like they really could provide a very naturally looking and effectively stiff tail.

04-10-2003, 12:32 AM

I use and have been doing so for many years (somewhere around 20 years now) nothing but Microfibbits or equivalent for dry fly tails. They are uniform in length, easy to tie with, very durable, and come in all the needed mayfly colors.

Hen hackle tips make a very nice wing; however, I would not recommend someone mess with them until s/he has been tying for a few years. Hair is easier to get a nice wing with, hackle tips are not until you learn how to set wings perfectly straight over the top of the hook. Duck flank feathers make a very nice wing, all one has to do to see this is take a look at a Catskill style dry tied with woodduck or teal flank as a wing.

Polypropolene yarn also makes a very nice wing. And one of its best features is that it gets trimmed to length after it is tied in. This is a real help to beginning fly tyers like yourself for getting the proper wing length to keep the fly proportioned.

04-10-2003, 12:12 PM
Thanks again, flytyer. You don't know what a great help it is for an enthusiastic beginner like myself to get advice form experienced fly tyers like you.