Wings on your fishing classics? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Wings on your fishing classics?

02-03-2005, 02:08 PM
It is quite obvious that many of us use classic style flies for our Atlantic salmon and/or Steelhead fishing. I was just wondering what type of feathers and combinations of feathers most of you like to use in these flies. For instance goose vs. turkey vs. swan. And for some of the more pricey exotics, do you use substitutes.

I, myself use goose shoulders most of the time. This is simply because they are easy to get and work with. And where exotics are called for I will usually use a substitute unless I have some low quality feathers available.


02-03-2005, 06:42 PM

I use either goose shoulder or turkey tail depending on the size of the fly. Goose is a lot easier to find than good white turkey tail though. I like Kingfisher or African Roller, so I use those when chatterer is called for. I also like to use cdc feathers dyed either light yellow or light gold (woodduck or sulfur) for toucan because it is close to toucan in feather structure. For Indian Crow, I use dyed ringneck pheasant white neck feathers, either the feather simply dyed a single orange-scarlet color or first dyed light tan and then the tips dyed bright orange-scarlet. I like to use Amhearst side tail feathers as a substitute for barred bustard. Speckled bustard is always a problem, although Zebra turkey tail is pretty close.

02-04-2005, 10:00 AM
I was browsing in the craft store and found some dyed and white Turkey primaries. You guys ever use these for married wings.


02-04-2005, 10:32 AM
I have used the dyed and white Turkey primaries from craft stores. The fibers tend to be a bit on the short side, however and this seems to limit their application to smaller flies. Also, I think they tend to be stiff and hard to stroke into shape. They Marie nice though and you can make some cool flies with them. I have been using them for some of my dying experiments. They are cheep and plentiful which makes them expendable.


P.S. You would think with the availability of the white Turkey primaries that white Turkey tails would also be cheep and available. Does not seem to be the case however.

02-04-2005, 02:26 PM

I prefer to use Swan. I love the look of the wings that contain Bustard, so I secured enough material to last me a long time. :)


02-04-2005, 03:22 PM
Where do you get swan primaries or shoulder. I thought Bustard was impossible to get.


02-04-2005, 05:14 PM

I agree with you on the turkey primaries. Although the marry easily, they have very think raches and are rather bulky at the tie in as well as being fairly short in fiber. And I've also thought that there should be a decent supply of white turkey tail available with all the white wing feathers you see at craft stores, but I haven't found that to be the case.


Swan can be gotten several places. Jimandre (one of out forum members) carries it; it can be gotten from Fisherman's Feathers; Castlearms has it; and John McCoy ( also has it. Just remember to get secondary feathers and not primaries.


Swan is very nice, but I was given 100 very good quality white turkey tails about 7 years ago, so I've been using it on larger flies. And like I said, on #2 (sometimes #1/0 or 2/0 if a large feather) and smaller I prefer to use goose shoulder because it is softer than white turkey tail and produces a smaller tie in on the smaller flies.

02-07-2005, 02:55 PM

Getting back to the Amhearst tails for substitute bustard, have you tried dying the center tails tan? I have heard this works well but have not yet tried it. Seems you can also get some very interestin affects by dying them other colors.


02-07-2005, 05:03 PM

I haven't dyed the Amhearst center tails tan because the side tail feathers are tan with black barring. Granted, they are not the golden tan of Florican, but they look good on a fly. I've thought of using center tails dyed red, orange, and purple in some wings, but have not done so. Dyed center tails look very good though and when dyed red, they make a nice horn substitute for touraco.

02-08-2005, 11:46 AM
I have a lot of really nice swan and it is what I have used for a long time but I like the turkey tails a bit better. The turkey holds it's shape out into the tips better and seems a bit stiffer, better for larger flies. If you guys have a line on good dyed over white turkey tails I would love to get some more.

Subs...I have some Florican and speckled Bustard and the stuff is amazing to tie with. However, I have stopped tying with it and all other exotics. Even the so called legal stuff raised in the states helps to support the illegal trade. I heard of a recent break in at a museum were several skins were stolen. Feathers that well meaning tyers will end up buying believing it to be legal birds. I also just heard of a bust at the border of somebody smuggling a couple of hundred bird skins in for fly tying. So FOR ME subs are the way to go.