03-11-2004, 01:02 PM
Normally I fish soft hackles but recently I felt like tying some thing with a feather wing.
Hook: standard wetfly, here size 14 TMC 3761BL
Thread: olive 8/0
Body: Peacock Herl
Rib: silver tinsel, counter wrapped
Wing: Mallard breast feathers
Beard: brown hen hackle
03-11-2004, 01:25 PM
I know this is a feather wing, but what do you use for hackle when tying your smaller soft hackles? Do you use a partridge skin? I would like to fish more soft hackles but can't seem to find good hackle for 14's and 16's.
03-11-2004, 01:48 PM
Dave, I dislike partridge feathers. It's probably my tying style but I don't get good flys with them. For soft hackle feathers I use the webbiest indian chicken necks I can find.
03-12-2004, 12:27 AM
When I lived in Montana and tied a lot of trout flies, I found that quality genetic hen necks were the best to use for wet flies. they have hackles down to #20 or #22 with the majority of them in the #10 to #18 range. Metz, Hoffman, Hebert (some of the very nicest hen necks I've evr seen), Collins, Spencer (his grizzly hens necks are especially nice), and Keough all have superior hen necks and all work very well for trout wet flies. The best part, they are pretty low in cost and have far more hackle than any Indian neck, and they are easier to tie than partridge on hooks smaller than #10.
03-15-2004, 09:37 AM
Starling is probably the most under-rated skin in tying today and offers not only good substitutes for feathers that are hard to find (snipe, golden plover, etc.) but they also are sized appropriately for small hooks.
Russ' suggestion about the hen necks is a good one that should be heeded but I want to also suggest looking at the wings of different birds, especially the Partridge and Golden Pheasant. The covert feathers are located on the shoulder of the wing and are very good for soft hackled flies and are in sizes that are a bit smaller than those found on the neck or saddle of the bird. Ruffed Grouse is another feather that shares similar characteristics and I'm sure there are many others.
Additionally, with the Golden Pheasant, the coloration of the covert feathers lends itself to substitution for things such as Woodcock, Brown Owl and in some instances even Golden Plover. There are a lot of variations from bird to bird and I think a lot of it has to do with their age or maturity but the ones I have used are nice, sized for flies in the 12-18 range and the wings are plentiful enough that they should be easy and inexpensive to procure.
There are primary coverts, marginal coverts and under coverts. All are good, small and soft and work well for soft hackles.
03-15-2004, 10:57 AM
Thanks, Russ & Don for sharing info on selecting feathers for soft hackles. Their a favorite of mine to tie & fish.
03-15-2004, 11:08 AM
John... I like that fly and it is similar to a certain saltwater shrimp fly we use.