Getting the Hackle Length Correct

A great place to discuss various patterns and tying methods for wingless wet flies, Yorkshire spiders, Flymphs and other patterns tied with soft hackles.

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paparex
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Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by paparex » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:33 pm

i have seen a number of beautiful flies with partridge soft hackle. My experience is that if it is close to the dimensions the fish don't mind. However, I love the symmetry of a row of flies with the hackle looking like it is measure perfect. What skills, ideas, talents or tricks do you find to aid you in tying balanced flies?
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Re: Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by Ruard » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:18 am

First of all buy a English Partridge skin, that make it a lot easier to search for every fly the same hackle. Second tie at least more then 10 flies together on the same hook. It could be annoying but the fish make one clear that it is important or not.

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Re: Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by Roadkill » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:09 am

paparex,

First off I don't believe there is a "Correct" Length as demonstrated by different styles or schools of soft hackle tying. I have no such concern in tying my fishing flies and as you say the fish will be the judges. An entomologist flyfishing friend of mine has given presentations on emergers with photos of hatches and shown that the same hatch can contain insects of the same species in both different sizes and different colors. One rock held two of the same mayflies emerging with one in an olive shade and another with a distinctly yellow body. ;)

That said I tend to tie my soft hackles with a particular bug in mind and I usually try to mimic the representation of the wings and ignore the legs. On some caddis the emergers legs and wings are similar in color and length. For aesthetic reasons in a row in your box, I suggest you try to select hackles similar in size from the same area of the of the skin and be sure to use both the same tie in point on the feather and number of turns of hackle. Also save the "mistakes" as well and fish them, I call them my expendables. They are for difficult lies where I might lose a fly on a tricky location like a root wad or sweeper. So don't be surprised if the fish like them more than the beautiful ties. :lol:
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Re: Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by redietz » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:08 pm

Roadkill wrote:paparex,

First off I don't believe there is a "Correct" Length as demonstrated by different styles or schools of soft hackle tying.
I don't think he was asking so much about "correct", but rather about making making every fly the same length.

I wish I had an answer.
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Re: Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by wsbailey » Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:13 pm

"The Soft Hackle Fly Addict" by Nemes has a feather size chart.

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Re: Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by paparex » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:05 pm

I see from Nemes' book that fly tying is an art. If it were science there might have been measurements on the X and Y axis of the chart of feathers.
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Re: Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by hankaye » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:17 pm

paparex, Howdy;

Perhaps using the Distributed Hackle method could help you with the uniform length
you are looking for ??? Nice discussion here;
http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/general-fly-tying-discussions/366177-how-tie-partridge-hackle-small-wet-fly.html
and even has a youtube clip linked in to it as well. Thought I remembered at least one
or more discussions on here about the method in the past. Seems to pop up every so often.

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Re: Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by wsbailey » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:56 pm

I guess Nemes didn't think that laying a feather on top of an illustration was rocket science.
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Re: Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by William Anderson » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:03 pm

Rex, I'm with you on the rows of evenly tied flies. I don't always get what I want, but it's nice when it works. This might seem obvious, so sorry if it isn't worth saying out loud, but typically if I'm not just fussing around with materials and I'm tying a set of a pattern I always decide if it's a dozen, I pull/select a dozen feathers at once. They are very likely all neighbors. Having multiple capes or skins helps if you're that lucky. When you find one that's either larger or smaller than your desired average, I set them aside for the fussing about part of tying. Sort your materials, line em all up and enjoys the rows of identical feathers.
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Re: Getting the Hackle Length Correct

Post by Jim Slattery » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:05 am

A good rule of thumb is to make them the size of the total hook length. From the front of the eye to the back of the curve, A sixteenth of a inch either way is close enough though with smaller flies you might want to get within a thirty second.
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