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> > Featherless Recipes that Work?

FisherOfMenJanuary 7th, 2012, 7:46 pm
NY

Posts: 115
I have a hard time getting my hands on feathers, so are there any effective patterns that can be made completely without feathers of any kind, or at least hackles? I have plenty of deer hair from my buck this year, as well as rabbit, snowshoe hare foot, muskrat, although I do have a couple large CDC-type chicken feathers and stiff tail-type feathers.

This is quite the challenge, but can anyone here think of some nice patterns with the materials listed? Caddisflies are really big in this area if that helps.

I don't expect a miracle, but any help would be welcome. I really just need to get to a fly shop, but we're an hour away from anything and I haven't gotten a chance to get to one. Thanks!
"Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught." -Author Unknown

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke
GldstrmSamJanuary 7th, 2012, 9:45 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
This may help http://www.flyanglersonline.com/flytying/beginners/. The EZ nymph is a good easy one.

Sam
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
PaulRobertsJanuary 8th, 2012, 9:45 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
I've fished what I call fuzzball's -dubbed hooks with nothing else on em. They catch fish so well (kinda like an old Hare's Ear gets better after it's caught a bunch of fish). I may spruce up such a fly with a permanent marker just to make me feel better. But it wasn't necessary. Fish sample the drift, and try things that MIGHT be food. Anatomically correct patterns may fool us but trout look for different triggers. Don't be shy -experiment.
DoublespeyJanuary 8th, 2012, 10:50 am
Posts: 61
Why not get your hands on some feathers? Got to be a flyshop nearby. I just tied up some very good looking no hackle PMD's using partridge hackles for the realistic wings...the light, grey speckled feathers. Two on each side all pinched together, and set in on the thorax...sure looks good to me with the grey speckled wings...got to have them feathers! The small grey feathers on the wings of a duck also make great realistic looking wings. Fur'n feathers is the foundation...got to have them feathers!
WbranchJanuary 8th, 2012, 3:41 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2628
Hello Fisher,

I can help you out - send me your address and I'll mail you a selection of brown, cream, dark dun, and grizzly hackles. It won't be #1 grade from my Hoffman saddles but they will be fine to catch fish. Do you need any fur or dubbing?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
JOHNWJanuary 8th, 2012, 4:57 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Fishers,
Try comparadun/ haystack style flies with the deer hair or snowshoe.
Also any elk hair caddis style fly can be tied with th ematerials you listed.

Don't forget there are feathers other than the chicken feathers we use for hackle. If you have and friends that hunt waterfowl or upland birds have them save some skins for you and you will have more feathers than you could ever want. If you can come by a single pheasant skin, a grouse skin, and goose or duck you will be set for a long time.
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
DoublespeyJanuary 8th, 2012, 8:30 pm
Posts: 61Gotta have dem feathers....foundation of the sport...fur'n feathers. I'd sit behind a lady in church that had a nice feather hat on. :)
GldstrmSamJanuary 9th, 2012, 1:55 am
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
Good one Doublespey.

A definite must haves are pheasant and peacock feathers.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
DoublespeyJanuary 9th, 2012, 6:01 pm
Posts: 61I have upland bird dogs, and skin out all my roosters complete with tail feathers, and wings. I use lots of pheasant feathers. There is some good marabou on pheasants. I use the entire marabou feather, and pinch it down for the tail on buggers. I use the loooong fibered rump feathers for spey hackle, and for softhackle on bigger softhackle flies. The tail fibers of course...I use a lot of the pheasant feathers. I also shoot huns, that I've been using for winging lately...lt grey, and speckled feathers on the outside of the fly, and two matched up CDC feathers on the inside leaving their stems forward...trim off the hun stems, and right angle the CDC feather stems behind the head, trim down, and create a pontoon emerger that floats, and balances the fly better on no hackles with the emerging legs of the CDC. Sure looks good. I use lots of duck as well for soft hackles, the big fibered flank feathers, the CDC. I get good use out of peacock BODY feathers. A very metallic, green/blue color for some softhackles, and steelhead flies.
GutcutterJanuary 9th, 2012, 9:54 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Doublespey wrote:

I have upland bird dogs, and skin out all my roosters ... I use lots of pheasant feathers...

...I also shoot huns, that I've been using for winging lately... Sure looks good.

...I use lots of duck as well...

...I get good use out of peacock BODY feathers...


Where is there an open season on peacocks?
:)
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
GutcutterJanuary 9th, 2012, 10:01 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
and right angle the CDC feather stems behind the head, trim down, and create a pontoon emerger that floats, and balances the fly better on no hackles with the emerging legs of the CDC. Sure looks good.


Rene' Harrop shows that technique in an early 1990's video. I agree that it looks and works great


All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
SofthackleJanuary 9th, 2012, 10:16 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Here's one: http://troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/html/allhair.html. You can also fashion the collar using a dubbing loop, using the long hairs sparsely, distributed more to one side. Twist the loop and as you wrap, stroke the fibers back.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
DoublespeyJanuary 10th, 2012, 11:26 am
Posts: 61

gutcutter...There was an old, run down farm house that an old farmer lived in out behind my house a short distance. The guy had lots, and lots of peacocks that would often be out on the road that I had thoughts of losing control of the wheel, and running over from time to time. I stopped in from once in awhile, and gave the old guy my card asking him to call me if one of his peacocks happened to choke on something. One day I stopped in to see him, and the old guy said, "Darn, I lost your card, and the dog killed a peacock a week, or so ago. He told me to look under an old piece of farm machinery, and there were peacock feathers everywhere. I picked up a bag of the body feathers, and a whole lot of quills. The guy since died, the gate is locked, the peacocks are now gone, and there is a for sales sign on the gate.
OldredbarnJanuary 10th, 2012, 11:47 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Mark,

How about the old "Hank of Hair" fly...It was a caddis imitation and consisted of only the tying thread for the body and some deer hair for a wing...Totally hackle-free...On second thought, I'm not even sure the Hank of Hair even bothered with a body...It may have been just deer hair tied to the top of the hook.

I had an old friend on the Au Sable years ago that tied a similar fly (in the same neighborhood anyway) that he called the "Dirt Ball"...He used to claim that Rusty had "out-lawed" it on the Au Sable, it was so good...:)

There are some Euro flies I've seen that are completely tied with just CDC...Body & all.

Or maybe Swisher & Richard's "No-Hackle"...The split tail of spade fibers could be replaced with micro-fibbets or bristles from a small paint brush...Tailing material could come from many things other than the chicken...:)


Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WbranchJanuary 10th, 2012, 7:51 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2628
Harry Darbee once showed me how to make a really neat dry fly with just some fur to dub a body, a hackle, and one long barred lemon woodduck feather.

You get whatever hook size you want - he took a #12 and he took the woodduck feather with the thick stem towards the rear, he cut off the really thick end of the feather and stripped off the fluff. Then he stroked back about three barbules on each side of the stem and tied that in as the tail, then he dubbed the body, then he pulled the feather forward and tied it down where the hackle would start.

Then he split the remaining woodduck fibers to make a divided wing and he wound a few turns of the hackle. It was a neat demonstration of a fly I'd never seen tied before. I wish I'd asked him if I could have the fly!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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