Tip-tied Hackle

ScottP

Active Member
Watching a lot of Davie McPhail and Ryan Houston videos; each uses a different way to tie in hackle by the tip.

I was more familiar with McPhail's method; tying in with the tip forward and hackle to the rear (out side, or "show" side, of hackle towards the tyer), then folding the tip back and tying it down to lock it in place








Houston trims the tip, ties it in by the stub, hackle facing forward (in side of hackle towards the tyer), then fold it back and ties it down, locking the hackle in place










Both work well, but I've turned toward Houston's method; for me, it locks the hackle in place securely and I use fewer wraps, creating less thread build up. What do you folks do?

Regards,
Scott
 
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Darby

Active Member
Scott,

I've always used Kelly Galloup's method. Lay hackle tip on shank and wrap to secure in place, next pull hackle out towards you wrap behind (on shank only) to prop it up and out, next wrap(s) is to position thread. Keeping constant tension on the thread I've done this with as little as three wraps. Benefit to me is hackle is in a perpendicular position to the hook shank and ready to fold back and wrap.

Steve
 

Steve Saville

Active Member
All three methods would seem to work well. I personally, use the first method, probably because I've never thought about the other ways. I'll have to try them to see which I prefer.
 

Mark Mercer

Member
Never tried it tying forward before and can see that it's more secure. I usually cut the tip like you've done but fold the both sides of the hackle back before I tie it in (old habit from Atlantic's) has always worked better for me especially on smaller flies.
Thanks Scott for bringing this up, I'll have to give it a try.
Mark
 

FinLuver

Active Member
I use all three techniques mentioned above, depending on the size, shape, and style of fly I'm tyin'.
 
I use Ryan Houston's method most often...I tie a lot of smaller flies that have hen hackle in the pattern...starting off the hackle with a neat stub allows me to wind forward on a bare shank or tube. If this is the last hackle wound, tying a small neat head is easy.
 

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
I've never used either method or any other double back lock down method and I don't have hackle unwinding problems due to insecure tie down. I start as McPhail does but skip the reverse and lock part. When I trim the fibers from the shaft before tie in I leave a bit of fiber stuble on the shaft. With good thread management the shaft is secure.

TC
 

skyrise

Active Member
I like the 2nd method as it looks to bind the hackle with less thread. I always have trouble folding the hackle just before wrapping it on the hook.
 

ScottP

Active Member
I always have trouble folding the hackle just before wrapping it on the hook.
If you’re having trouble folding hackle, I’ve found Jay Nicholas method, using scissors to break down the hackle barbs, works well. I grab the tip of the feather in my hackle pliers and do it before I tie it in, but the process is the same; it really helps with stuff like chukar, waterfowl flank, pheasant rump, etc.

Regards,
Scott
 

FinLuver

Active Member
If you’re having trouble folding hackle, I’ve found Jay Nicholas method, using scissors to break down the hackle barbs, works well. I grab the tip of the feather in my hackle pliers and do it before I tie it in, but the process is the same; it really helps with stuff like chukar, waterfowl flank, pheasant rump, etc.

Regards,
Scott
Some feathers are more fragile than others...
Scissor Folding if done with too much pressure or wrong scissor angle can strip or break the feather.
 

Randall Clark

Huge Fly Guy
Some feathers are more fragile than others...
Scissor Folding if done with too much pressure or wrong scissor angle can strip or break the feather.
That's what I was thinking, so I just use the first method up there when I need to palmer hackle. Honestly, I can't remember a time where the hackle has come undone, perhaps after a bunch of fish have chewed on it, but that's it. The majority of the hackle I tie is by the butts to add length and movement to big flies.

Cheers!
 
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ScottP

Active Member
Some feathers are more fragile than others...
I've used the scissor method on lots of different kinds of feathers and haven't had problems.

Scissor Folding if done with too much pressure or wrong scissor angle can strip or break the feather.
True, but it's like thread tension - after you pop it a few times you figure out how hard you can lean on it; same applies to the scissors. YMMV

Regards,
Scott
 

Ron McNeal

Life's good!
I first saw this technique (which I've clumsily failed to master) several years ago at FFF's Albany Expo.
John Shewey was demo tying and when he did this, it was like "WTF? - do that again...!" It was like watching magic. I've made a point of trying to watch John tie at subsequent Expos just to watch the magic again. Pretty darn neat technique....
 
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skyrise

Active Member
I don’t know why or what’s the difference, but this seems to work:
thanks for the video. will try this. i seem to have the most problems with Mallard, teal, and Guinea feathers. but mostly mallard flank. splitting the feather down the middle seems work best.
 

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