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OldHasBeenFebruary 3rd, 2018, 1:53 pm
Simcoe County, Ontario

Posts: 4
Any tips on getting the hackles right on smaller"Soft Hackle" flys? What I am having problems with is finding feathers (ie: partridge) small enough for fly's #16 and smaller to wrap in the traditional manner. Thanks All
WbranchFebruary 3rd, 2018, 2:45 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2227
It is very rare that you will ever find any Hungarian partridge or American grouse feathers in sizes smaller than #14. If you do the stems are very often so fine and brittle that it is very hard to palmer a feather without the stem breaking. Once in awhile I will be able to get a turn or two without the stem breaking.

However I really don't think it is all that important to exactly match the barbule length to the hook size on soft hackle flies. If you look at good pictures of soft hackle flies you will often see that the hackle is maybe one, or two, sizes larger than what would be considered normal for that hook size. A little more barbule length will impart more action to the fly and the trout won't be rejecting your offering.

Sometimes I will use a very small #16 dun colored wet fly hackle and before wrapping it onto the hook shank I color some barring on it with a black indelible marking pen. It looks quite good and I doubt the trout can tell the difference.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldHasBeenFebruary 4th, 2018, 2:19 pm
Simcoe County, Ontario

Posts: 4
Thank you for the tip.... I'll be sure to give that a try!!!
MartinlfFebruary 6th, 2018, 9:08 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2752
Lloyd Gonzales actually spins partridge sort of like deer hair to size it. His book explains how. You'll find my review of the book on Amazon, along with several others by Troutnuts. https://www.amazon.com/Fly-Fishing-Pressured-Water-Lloyd-Gonzales-ebook/dp/B00511HF1A
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchFebruary 7th, 2018, 4:34 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2227
Louis wrote;

actually spins partridge sort of like deer hair to size it.


That sounds like a neat idea maybe you can explain it to me someday so I don't have to buy the book.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PABrownieFebruary 7th, 2018, 8:41 am
Gallitzin PA

Posts: 37
I use this method demonstrated here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31DWumnrPIs
RleePFebruary 7th, 2018, 9:47 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 327
>>I use this method demonstrated here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31DWumnrPIs>>

This is basically what I have always done. Tie oversize fibers in at desired length and facing forward, then use thread tension and hand manipulation to get as close to a 360 degree splay as I can and then fold back and finish. Actually, I often do it this way even when I have feathers with the right length fibers. Trying to wind a partridge, chukar or starling feather often overloads my already limited capacity for patience. This is easier and better for my nerves...

Thanks PABrownie!
MartinlfFebruary 8th, 2018, 10:12 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2752
Matt, it's on sale on Amazon for 15.00. A steal. But I'll be glad to show you if I get a chance. The YouTube videos show basically what he does.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchFebruary 8th, 2018, 4:03 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2227
Louis,

Thanks. I looked at the YouTube video and it is very well presented. I understood it easily and if I ever get the urge to tie again I will give it a try. Ever since I had my cataract surgery in April of 2017 I have not been able to tie flies without the aid of low magnification prescription glasses and those Flip Focal gadgets. It is annoying and I've only tied five dry flies and three streamers since my surgery. Sooner or later I need to come to terms with wearing the corrective lens or sell all my fly tying equipment and the roll top desk.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfFebruary 10th, 2018, 8:49 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2752
Matt, I tie with a lighted magnifier over the vise. I think I got it as an office supply store. Suspended from an arm with adjustments for height and angle, it has a circular fluorescent bulb and with the light and magnification, I tie tricos down to size 28 with ease. I couldn't tie without it for sure.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchFebruary 11th, 2018, 7:38 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2227
Louis,

Thanks for the tip. I have seen those circular lights with the magnifier in the center years ago when I was working and just forgot all about them until you mentioned it. I will look into that.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
RleePFebruary 11th, 2018, 12:03 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 327
Matt: If you want to try the magnifier lamp approach and not sink a lot of $ into it until you know if it suits you, you might try this one. It's pretty basic and you'll need a mounting arrangement that accepts a c-clamp. But, I've been tying with it for the past 15 years and through the 5X viewer, it makes tying a size #18 dry fly like hitching a boat to a dock. Makes me feel like I have the eyes of a 30 year old again and I'm only 8-10 years younger than you

$29.99 from the Cabela's Division of Bass Pro..

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Clamp-On-Magnifying-Lamp/1439363.uts?slotId=1
WbranchFebruary 12th, 2018, 5:23 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2227
I read all of the reviews for the light you recommended. I see you have had yours for 15 years. More reviews were negative than positive. Most people complained about the flimsiness of the clamping mechanism. I think if I go with this design I will get the $69 model with the round light and magnifier.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfFebruary 17th, 2018, 1:14 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2752
Matt, the clamp on mine did break for me and I fixed it with JB weld. That happened so long ago, I'd forgotten about it, but it was a pain at the time. I like the quality of magnification and light a lot in my unit, but the reviewers were right about clamps being a possible weak point. Do check the unit if you can; the quality of magnifiers and light varies.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchFebruary 17th, 2018, 4:44 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2227
Hi Louis,

Been thinking of fishing lately? We just got 3" of snow and just two days ago it was 70 degrees and I drove around with my window down.

I plan on fishing the Tully and the LJ most of April and not heading up to the cabin until the beginning of April. My wife and I just booked a week on the island of Antigua the 2nd week of April.

Who knows if we get some warm April days I may drive up to SC.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfFebruary 18th, 2018, 6:47 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2752
Sounds good, Matt. I'm still getting my students on task, but will get out in the next month or so. I wonder if the Tully will fish any better this year than last. Caddis were few and far between when I was over. I hear they're doing road work up toward SC; you might check on this before heading out.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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