02-08-2001, 04:36 PM
I finally have gotten the answer to tying the mallard flank feather on Jack Gartside's soft hackle flies. Jack says that the stem of the mallard feather is flat and you must keep the flat side towards the hook when*winding the Mallard collar. Has anyone else had problems with the collar winding on the proper way?
Good tip! I used to palmer a lot of mallard hackles for steelhead flies like the Knudsen spider, also dyed ("burnt") mallard makes a reasonable Spey hackle for small steelhead and salmon flies (#8-#2).
There were two ways I would manage the "cupping" of the hackles in the proper direction... one is to simply strip one side of the feather, tie in the tip, and palmer the collar with the right number of turns. This allows very good control over the collar appearance.
Another is to hold the feather broadside so that the curl comes toward you, separate the tip section from the rest of the barbs by laying the sides down and away...
Tie in the tip section, the fold the barbs together so that they point to the rear of the fly, then palmer around the hook shaft.
Either way works well for me.