Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

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joaniebo
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Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by joaniebo » Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:47 am

For years, I've gathered way too many fly tying materials as I've often searched for materials to tie a dozen or so of a specific dressing and then kept the "extra' materials on hand for heaven knows what future use.

But in looking at many of the pics of flies done by others, I've been impressed as to how many different flies can be dressed using either hare's ear dubbing or pheasant tails for the bodies and then using various feathers for the hackles and tails.

A hare's ear body with a furnace, partridge, Golden Plover, honey dun, etc. etc. hackle, with and without tails, make different looking flies as does a pheasant tail body with various hackles. Adding a colored thread or wire rib of gold or silver or a thorax of a darker hare's ear dubbing or peacock herl and, voila, more different flies.

I'm really starting to think that maybe some of us are just making it difficult for ourselves. Maybe, just maybe there's something to keeping it simple, eh?

Bob

PS - as an added thought, I wonder why the few of the North Country spiders have tails yet many of the English dry fly dressings do have tails? Maybe the pic of the old flies with large, bushy hackles answers that question. But, who knows why "no tails"?
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Theroe
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Re: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by Theroe » Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:40 am

joaniebo wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:47 am For years, I've gathered way too many fly tying materials as I've often searched for materials to tie a dozen or so of a specific dressing and then kept the "extra' materials on hand for heaven knows what future use.

But in looking at many of the pics of flies done by others, I've been impressed as to how many different flies can be dressed using either hare's ear dubbing or pheasant tails for the bodies and then using various feathers for the hackles and tails.

A hare's ear body with a furnace, partridge, Golden Plover, honey dun, etc. etc. hackle, with and without tails, make different looking flies as does a pheasant tail body with various hackles. Adding a colored thread or wire rib of gold or silver or a thorax of a darker hare's ear dubbing or peacock herl and, voila, more different flies.

I'm really starting to think that maybe some of us are just making it difficult for ourselves. Maybe, just maybe there's something to keeping it simple, eh?

Bob

PS - as an added thought, I wonder why the few of the North Country spiders have tails yet many of the English dry fly dressings do have tails? Maybe the pic of the old flies with large, bushy hackles answers that question. But, who knows why "no tails"?
Bob

Great way to start a rainy Wednesday - nice topic!
I too, have a TON of material/hooks/rods/reels/ephemera/etc. However, most is scrounged/picked/recycled/ bartered material(including roadkill). This is how "those who came before us" during the golden age did it: there was no uber fly shop, stocked with zillions of overpriced baggies containing a few bits or scraps. Therefore, I follow that tradition.
Items used were items gleaned from elsewhere...wives sewing baskets, hunting friends and the roadside.... these were their resources, THEIR fly shops. Personally, I get ALOT more satisfaction tying a pheasant tail nymph using old hooks I might have bought at the museum, copper wire from an old electrical relay rescued from a job at work, with PT feathers from a hunting trip.

The master only buys hooks:he in his mid 80's and still cranks out a couple of hundred dozen flies each year, all material coming from hunting or trading.

Yes, it is more difficult now, as is everything else!!

As far as the tails, or "whisk" - John Shaner had a very good explanation, but I cant remember it now.....

Dana
Soft and wet - the only way....
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Re: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by letumgo » Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:33 am

I headed down the path of soft hackles with similar thoughts (keeping things simple). Little did I know it would greatly expand the list of rare materials I “must” have. You are absolutely right, that most fishing flies can effectively be dressed with a small selection of fur (hares mask), pheasant tail, peacock herl and some suitable hackle.

Yet I still collect materials (slower these days) to play around with. These days collecting is usually centered around my fascination with wool yarns (endlessly useful and under appreciated IMHO), with an occasional Slattery-induced hackle buying binge.

All part of the fun. Simple is nice, but variety is spice! ;) :D
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Re: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by Variant » Wed Sep 02, 2020 3:33 pm

Theroe wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:40 am
joaniebo wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:47 am For years, I've gathered way too many fly tying materials as I've often searched for materials to tie a dozen or so of a specific dressing and then kept the "extra' materials on hand for heaven knows what future use.

But in looking at many of the pics of flies done by others, I've been impressed as to how many different flies can be dressed using either hare's ear dubbing or pheasant tails for the bodies and then using various feathers for the hackles and tails.

A hare's ear body with a furnace, partridge, Golden Plover, honey dun, etc. etc. hackle, with and without tails, make different looking flies as does a pheasant tail body with various hackles. Adding a colored thread or wire rib of gold or silver or a thorax of a darker hare's ear dubbing or peacock herl and, voila, more different flies.

I'm really starting to think that maybe some of us are just making it difficult for ourselves. Maybe, just maybe there's something to keeping it simple, eh?

Bob

PS - as an added thought, I wonder why the few of the North Country spiders have tails yet many of the English dry fly dressings do have tails? Maybe the pic of the old flies with large, bushy hackles answers that question. But, who knows why "no tails"?
Bob

Great way to start a rainy Wednesday - nice topic!
I too, have a TON of material/hooks/rods/reels/ephemera/etc. However, most is scrounged/picked/recycled/ bartered material(including roadkill). This is how "those who came before us" during the golden age did it: there was no uber fly shop, stocked with zillions of overpriced baggies containing a few bits or scraps. Therefore, I follow that tradition.
Items used were items gleaned from elsewhere...wives sewing baskets, hunting friends and the roadside.... these were their resources, THEIR fly shops. Personally, I get ALOT more satisfaction tying a pheasant tail nymph using old hooks I might have bought at the museum, copper wire from an old electrical relay rescued from a job at work, with PT feathers from a hunting trip.

The master only buys hooks:he in his mid 80's and still cranks out a couple of hundred dozen flies each year, all material coming from hunting or trading.

Yes, it is more difficult now, as is everything else!!

As far as the tails, or "whisk" - John Shaner had a very good explanation, but I cant remember it now.....

Dana
Dana,
You really stirred up some memories. I grew up in a sporting family. Some of my chores were to live trap pigeons for training our hunting dogs, when the pigeons served their purpose my uncle showed me how to harvest the wings for fly tying.After a field trial my job was to feed and water the dogs and then comb them out. The blue and orange Belton setters hair made great dubbing. During the hunting season I was awash in feathers , I had to clean and pluck the days game bag. I would trade or barter the pelts for other materials I needed .I would shoot squirrels for the pot and sell the tails to the MEPPS spinner company, a buck a tail. My Achilles heel was the hooks , like you mentioned ,my hard earned cash went for the high quality British hooks from HERTERS. Talk about being thrifty ,I tied my first Blue Variant dry fly using the tinsel from our Christmas tree!
Lou
In sport,method is everything.The more the skill the method calls for,the higher it’s yield of emotional stir and satisfaction,the higher it’s place must be in a sportsman’s scale of values. RODERICK HAIG-BROWN
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Re: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by ForumGhillie » Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:57 pm

joaniebo wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:47 am For years, I've gathered way too many fly tying materials as I've often searched for materials to tie a dozen or so of a specific dressing and then kept the "extra' materials on hand for heaven knows what future use.

But in looking at many of the pics of flies done by others, I've been impressed as to how many different flies can be dressed using either hare's ear dubbing or pheasant tails for the bodies and then using various feathers for the hackles and tails.

A hare's ear body with a furnace, partridge, Golden Plover, honey dun, etc. etc. hackle, with and without tails, make different looking flies as does a pheasant tail body with various hackles. Adding a colored thread or wire rib of gold or silver or a thorax of a darker hare's ear dubbing or peacock herl and, voila, more different flies.

I'm really starting to think that maybe some of us are just making it difficult for ourselves. Maybe, just maybe there's something to keeping it simple, eh?

Bob

PS - as an added thought, I wonder why the few of the North Country spiders have tails yet many of the English dry fly dressings do have tails? Maybe the pic of the old flies with large, bushy hackles answers that question. But, who knows why "no tails"?
Bob,

Let's not put emphasis on developing a common sense approach to fly tying materials. What fun would that be?

Variant, how about Christmas candy wrappers too? (Washed of course). I too sold a few to Mepps.

No doubt, hare's mask, pheasant tails and peacock herl are three essential materials for all fly tiers.
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Re: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by letumgo » Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:00 pm

:lol: :D ;)
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Re: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by Theroe » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:00 am

veering off topic, ever so slightly: Joseph Grigely aka "bearbutt", somehow purchased Datus Propers travel fly tying kit. I believe it was described in one of his books, possibly "What the Trout said". From polar bear hair to size 15 Saville hooks, this kit has it all! Ditto for very old north country spider kits, as posted by Robert Smith - i think Carl, William and I perused one that Rob brought to a symposium.

I guess my point is, you can do a LOT with very little.....which begs the question: why do I have SO much stuff?? For the last couple of decades, Ive been under the same roof; recently moving. During the pack and toss phase of the move AMONG MANY OTHER TREASURES, I found two necks in a bag: one Darbee, one Ivans, that he raised from chicks received from Harry. Ivan gave me these in 1982, as evidenced by my handwritten note (I label EVERYTHING in detail).
Once the unpacking starts, I am sure more will surface....... but why so much?

I should have started another thread. :oops:

Dana
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Re: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by DUBBN » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:17 am

As far as dubbing and soft hackles go, I am sure I could have gotten away with only Natural Hares Mask this Spring and Summer.

Except for feathers (capes and saddles), threads, and hooks, all tying materials are thrown away every Daylight Savings Time change, if the material was not used in the previous year. Furs and pelts included.
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Re: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by ForumGhillie » Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:23 am

Theroe wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:00 am veering off topic, ever so slightly: Joseph Grigely aka "bearbutt", somehow purchased Datus Propers travel fly tying kit. I believe it was described in one of his books, possibly "What the Trout said". From polar bear hair to size 15 Saville hooks, this kit has it all! Ditto for very old north country spider kits, as posted by Robert Smith - i think Carl, William and I perused one that Rob brought to a symposium.

I guess my point is, you can do a LOT with very little.....which begs the question: why do I have SO much stuff?? For the last couple of decades, Ive been under the same roof; recently moving. During the pack and toss phase of the move AMONG MANY OTHER TREASURES, I found two necks in a bag: one Darbee, one Ivans, that he raised from chicks received from Harry. Ivan gave me these in 1982, as evidenced by my handwritten note (I label EVERYTHING in detail).
Once the unpacking starts, I am sure more will surface....... but why so much?

I should have started another thread. :oops:

Dana
Bearbutt was kind enough to show me Datus Propers travel fly tying kit, it is quite remarkable. I could never get down to that.

One thing I like to do is use small, zip lock, clear plastic bags that some shower curtains and other things come in. I place all the materials I need in each bag for specific hatches, such as PMDs. I include the hooks, thread, feathers, dubbing, hair, etc. in the plastic container. Then while on the fishing trip I just pull out the small plastic container for that specific hatch.

PMD-Zip-Bag.jpg
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Re: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails & Hackles

Post by Theroe » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:06 am

John - I use those as well........they are GREAT !

Dana
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