Tying with Kid Goat [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tying with Kid Goat

River Rat
10-17-2004, 08:29 PM
Hello All,

I have been experimenting with kid goat for winging steelhead wet flies and hairwing speys. It ties a nice wing and is very durable. However, I have found it difficult to get the tips even. I have done my best to comb out all of the underfur before stacking but have had limited success. The hairs seem to stick together too much for stacking.

Any suggestions for even tips with kid goat would be appreciated.

River Rat

10-17-2004, 10:02 PM
One of the real nice things about kid goat is that you can't stack it and trying to even the tips is next to impossible too (artic fox has this characteristic also and it is another very effective hair for hairwing wets). The reason this is an advantage is when tied in the wing has a natural taper to its end, instead of looking like a paint brush. the allows the wing to be more translucent at its end and bulkier at the tie down, just like a feather wing would be.

Polar bear also has the characteristic and it is very effective as a wing if used sparsely. Kid goat also has a translucent quality to it, which aides its effectiveness as well.

One of the most common mistakes I see in hair wing wets and streamers is stacking of the hair, which produces the paint brush effect. A prime example of this are streamer flies. If you ever get the chance to look at a streamer tied by Art Flick, Walt Dette, or Keith Fulsher (Thunder Creek series originator), they have unstacked wings and have a much sparser look as a result. And this sparser tie and look also produces a more effective baitfish imitation.

10-18-2004, 06:23 AM

I feel your pain! After the underfur is removed from Kid Goat or Arctic Fox you're left with precious few hairs to stack anyhow!

As FT mentioned, it might be best (depending on personal taste) to tie your Goat wing in 'as is' for the natural taper our Moderator alluded to.

I have to disagree on the following, though;

"One of the most common mistakes I see in hair wing wets and streamers is stacking of the hair..."

Stacking your hair wing in a Steelhead or Salmon fly is really a matter of personal preference and 'style' - not a mistake.

The great Belarmino Martinez, one of Europe's greatest Master tyers, dressed his (precious few) hairwing'ed Salmon flies with a distinctive 'stacked' wing - hardly a mistake!


Ronn Lucas
10-19-2004, 09:20 PM
First, I don't have any kid goat so I can't really comment on stacking it. What I can do is offer a couple tips. When you are using hair whether crinkly or not and it has lots of underfur, you can pinch out some of the underfur to make the tie in smaller and the butt of the wing also slimmer. This fly, the Silver Monkey that is tied with silver Fox rather than silver Monkey, has most of the underfur removed and the wing is unstacked.

http://www.cybcon.com/~rlucas/155%20Silver%20Monkey,%20Gray%20Fox%20wing%20tied% 20by%20R%20Lucas,%20.1.jpg

On hair such as Fox, that has very fine texture to the guard hairs, a wing without any underfur doesn't have much stability . Leaving some guard hair in the base of the wing slightly stiffens it when wet.

Also, I rarely stack hair anymore. The reasons are, I like the look of the tapered end of the wing like FT mentioned. Also, for flies that I use particularly Deer hair on, unstacked hair will have a mottled look to it.

I've been doing this (unstacked hair) for many years so I am not a recent convert. I will on occasion use stacked hair for a particular effect/look but, it is rare.

Happy Trails!

River Rat
10-20-2004, 10:40 PM
Great thoughts! I appreciate the feedback.

John Shewey did an article for Fly Tyer (Spring 2002) on hairwing wets for steelhead. Some, if not most of the flies he used to illustrate the article have very neat "paint brush" style wings. I thought that they looked nice but was having trouble achieving that look with the material I was using. Now I understand why. I do appreciate the more casual look as well.

Attached is a photo of a Green Butt Skunk with the "casual" style kid goat wing.

Thanks again.

River Rat

10-21-2004, 04:13 AM
Nice fly RR - and the 'casual' wing does look nice, IMO. I also enjoyed seeing your GBS tied with the wing under the collar.

I've got a really tattered copy of the same Flytyer magazine and I must have read Shewey's well-photographed article a ka-jillion times - being from the Northwest I have a soft spot for hairwinged Steelhead flies. *g* Have you had the chance to try the Ed Hass 'reverse wing' method in the article?

BTW - I like your user-name, too!


10-21-2004, 05:12 PM
I have been using kid goat hair to wing allot of Steelhead patterns, I also donít bother to waste my time trying to stack the hair or comb it. I cut a good sized bunch of hair off the skin then with the hair between my left thumb and forefinger I just pull out the under fir and shorter guard hairs with my right thumb and forefinger. Now for the best trick. Grab the but ends with your right thumb and forefinger and look at the other end of the hair. Most of it will be about the same length but if there are a few longer hairs just grab onto them with your left thumb and forefinger and pull them out. This only takes a matter of seconds. I then cut the but ends on a slight angle apply some cement and tie it all down with a few wraps of thread. Ill post a photo later.


River Rat
10-21-2004, 11:42 PM

Yeah, hairwings are great. I like tying "kicked up" versions of the original chenille classics. I am inspired by the John Shewey/Dave McNeese style wet flies. The production ties don't do anything for me (chenille body, short stubby wing, short stiff collars). I like a fly with a larger profile, sparkle from the dubbed body, and a little more movement from the longer collar. I tie the wing under the collar because I find it difficult to tie the wing in securely (for fishing) and still get a small head after tying the bulky hairwing off (I like the look of it, and the freedom the hackle collar has to move without being trapped partially by the wing). Probably my limited skill...which comes from limited time at the tying bench...because like most people I am too busy!!! I guess in the end I try to balance durability and time spent tying each fly with aesthetics that I can live with.

I have not tried the reverse wing method. It makes sense...I should learn it.


Thanks for the tips!


Ronn Lucas
10-21-2004, 11:50 PM
Hey River Rat,

If you haven't already seen it, here is a link to instructions on the "Ed Haas winging " method. http://flyanglersonline.com/flytying/atlantic/hairwing/silvermonkeylesson.html

Happy Trails!

10-22-2004, 03:11 PM
River Rat,

One of the easiest ways to tie in a salmon/steelhead wet fly hairwing is tying it in in two bunches, a method that has been in use for Atlantic Salmon hair wings for many, many years. You do this by: 1) tying is a bunch of hair that is about 3/4ths the thickness of wing you want before tying in and wrapping the collar; 2) tie in the hackle and wrap it; and 3) tie in a small bunch of hair to finish the wing. This will produce a small head and a wing as large in diameter as you wish, and it has the added advantage of providing both more movement in the water and the illusion of bulk. Although it takes just a little longer to tie the wing this way, the results are well worth it.

Her's a Skykomish Sunrise tied this way on an Alec Jackson #7 Spey Hook.

River Rat
10-22-2004, 05:54 PM

I will try your method, great instructions.

Fly Tyer:

Tying the wing in stages is a great idea, that too I will try.

What a great forum, I have learned so much from just one post!

Thank You.