This is not how I was taught

GAT

Dumbfounded
#1
When I first learned to tie flies, the hackle feather was always tied in last and then wrapped to form the collar. I gleaned a different technique while watching Hans tie a soft hackle. He tied in the feather first. I tried the technique and liked the results.

The problem with tying in the hackle feather as the last step is that the hackle stem is problematic. You end up with a bulbous head. Because I liked how the technique worked for soft hackles, it occurred to me that I could do the same thing for tying Woolly Buggers. Soooooooo.... I did.

This is how it turned out.

First, I tied in the hackle feather at the hook eye:

IMG_1655.jpg

Then, I finished the remainder of the pattern as I normally would. The feather is wound to the rear and locked in place with the wire rib. This is the result:

IMG_1650.jpg

I like it. I'll use this technique to tie my WBs from now on. I doubt if the fish care but it works for me.

Thanks, Hans!
 

psycho

Active Member
#4
Hans Weilenmann does the same thing with almost all of his hackles. Several years ago I found a
description of that method and have used it ever since.
 

ansas

The Good Ol' Days are Now!
#7
In the nothing new under the sun segment: See
Art of Tying the Wet Fly

James Leisenring's technique for tying flies circa 1941 describes the hackle first technique under discussion here. Leisenring would probably have been more of a well recognised "force" in fly fishing had it not been for two things. The first was the Second World War and the second was Leisenring's modesty and arguably the preoccupation of the fly fishing community at large with dry fly fishing technique at the end of the war.
 
#9
In the nothing new under the sun segment: See
Art of Tying the Wet Fly

James Leisenring's technique for tying flies circa 1941 describes the hackle first technique under discussion here. Leisenring would probably have been more of a well recognised "force" in fly fishing had it not been for two things. The first was the Second World War and the second was Leisenring's modesty and arguably the preoccupation of the fly fishing community at large with dry fly fishing technique at the end of the war.
James Leisenring certainly did, but the technique is way way way older. At least for wets.

I am not as certain when it moved into dry fly hackling. Just call me an advocate of this method :cool:

Cheers,
Hans W
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#10
It's new for me and I'm sure many, many others on this forum. The first time I saw the technique, like I said, was watching one of Hans' clips a month or so ago.

There probably isn't much new when it comes to techniques for fly tying but if you're not aware of it, it's new to you.

However, there are a lot of new patterns these days that use specific materials that have never been tied in the past.

I wouldn't have posted this thread if I didn't figure there are a lot of fly tyers out there who are not aware of the technique and would appreciate the tip.
 
#13
I think I mentioned in a thread a while back that spey flies have been tied like that for many many years, I would imagine before trout flies were but I don't know that for a fact, I used to tie a lot that way myself. It's kind of neat to adapt it to trout flies and even dries but I don't see a huge advantage in doing it other than to keep the head nonexistent and most of the bugs I see have heads. Just my opinion.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#14
Mark, I agree and even mentioned that to Hans. However, for a pattern such as a WB, I don't think a head means much to the fish. A soft hackle??? I don't know. Field testing will be required... which is simple enough. I almost always use two flies when stillwater fishing so I'll tie on a pattern of each style to see if it makes a difference.

Of course, if we're going to get down to heads on patterns, why do the fish ignore the hook eye and a cable tied to the head? It's kind'a like adding antenna.

I found the technique new for me and because I don't tie spey patterns nor ever plan to, I was not aware it is common knowledge for some fly tyers. My bad :p
 
#15
GAT,

I've been tying soft hackles that way for years. I find no difference in effectiveness between those with a near non-existant head and one with a pronounced or noticeable head.