This is not how I was taught

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by GAT, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    8,040
    Likes Received:
    6,276
    Location:
    Willamette Valley, OR
    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!
     
    Derek Young likes this.
  2. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,459
    Likes Received:
    1,392
    Location:
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
    That's the way Davey McPhail ties em too.
    Jack
     
  3. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    3,947
    Likes Received:
    1,496
    Location:
    Moses Lake, WA
    I may switch my woolly buggers to that way also. I normally tie them in the front and wind to the back but only after the body is wound.
     
    jimmydub likes this.
  4. psycho

    psycho Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    723
    Likes Received:
    384
    Location:
    B.C. Canada
    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.
     
  5. Hans Weilenmann

    Hans Weilenmann Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    365
    You mean like this, Gene? :cool:




    Cheers,
    Hans W
     
  6. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    8,040
    Likes Received:
    6,276
    Location:
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Hans, no, not like that at all. Not even close! :p
     
    Chris Johnson likes this.
  7. ansas

    ansas The Good Ol' Days are Now!

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Eastern, WA
    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.
     
  8. ansas

    ansas The Good Ol' Days are Now!

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Eastern, WA
  9. Hans Weilenmann

    Hans Weilenmann Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    365
    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
     
    Chris Johnson likes this.
  10. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    8,040
    Likes Received:
    6,276
    Location:
    Willamette Valley, OR
    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.
     
    Richard Olmstead likes this.
  11. Hans Weilenmann

    Hans Weilenmann Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    365
    Gene,

    For exactly that same reason I made/posted the "reverse hackling for dry flies" video clip.

    Cheers,
    Hans W
     
    Chris Johnson likes this.
  12. jimmydub

    jimmydub Active Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    Wait, you taught me to do that wrong? Looks like you're not getting those flies I promised!
     
  13. Mark Mercer

    Mark Mercer Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,295
    Likes Received:
    880
    Location:
    port orchard, wa
    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.
     
  14. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    8,040
    Likes Received:
    6,276
    Location:
    Willamette Valley, OR
    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. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,827
    Likes Received:
    230
    Location:
    Yelm, WA, USA.
    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.