A few years ago I picked up a package of Reel Wings at Dette Trout Flies and while I was super excited to use them once arriving home; I found that I broke more of them than I was able to use properly.
I tried and tried again, but after becoming frustrated, I put the few that I had left in the drawer, and honestly.. like many other materials before them.. I they were forgotten about.
Until I was made aware that they had revamped the packaging and material; for ease of use and durability!
So If you were like me, and had a little bit of trouble getting the hang of this material in the past; have no fear! Take a look at this step by step and the improvements made and I’m sure you will be running to the shop to pick some up, and wont be afraid to use up the old ones as well.
I tie on jigs a lot, so much so that it’s become almost automatic when reaching for a hook. They are great for nymphing, will sink deep with a tungsten bead and extra weight under the body and ride with the hook point up on a tight line. Translating into less hangups as you are high sticking through the riffles.
Not to say that I dont still use standard nymph hooks with brass beads when I am going to be fishing skinnier water, and need to opt for something lighter that wont barrel straight down through the water column; It’s just that I cant seem to keep myself away from them.
While I may never really know what it is that makes them so attractive to look at, what I do know, is that one question I am asked the most when demonstrating or tying At a show, is:
“How do I get those slotted beads to sit right?!? It doesn’t work. What am I doing wrong?”
Last week we discussed two ways you can utilize an oversized feather when it comes to tying with soft hackles, and today we are going to look at two more. These two methods listed below are my favorites and while one is rather quick, the other allows you to mix it up a bit. Lets take a look!
“The Flying V”
While I have no idea what this technique is normally called, or where it came from originally; what I do know, is that I have seen it used many times by many different people, and I am always amazed at how quick and effective it is. I have also added a YouTube link at the end to a video by Craig Matthews on this technique, in case you need a moving visual.
Anyone who has spoken to me during a presentation, while tying at a show or on the water, knows that I love tying, fishing and talking; soft hackles. If they didn’t know it at first, they learn rather quickly, seeing as though my caffeine fueled ramblings have a tendency to veer in that direction mid conversation without warning.
It’s an addiction! So much so, that in the middle of tying something else, I seem to glance over to where I had previously left a partridge or starling skin, look left and right like I am doing something wrong, abandon my current pattern and move over to my husbands vise! Tie one or two, and then hop back over to my side and continue what I was doing.
Oh what a great addiction to have!
The other side to this, is that no matter how much I love tying and admiring a handful soft hackles where everything is seemingly perfect, doing everything I can to recreate the fly to my liking and bettering myself at the techniques; the bottom line is that soft hackles fish just as good on a first cast as they do after 5 fish. The more chewed up the better they become! The fibers are all over the place, floss is frayed and you’re still hooking fish with the lifelike appearance that they give, even with those materials all askew!
If there’s one thing a fly Tyer knows all too well, it’s how quickly a well-intentioned fly can immediately look like crap, due to a thread underbody that is not uniformly wrapped.
The underbody can be a very overlooked step, and when done in a hurry with haste is something that your final product will reflect.
With these quills You can tie a variety of sizes, and depending on what you’re tying you can usually go as big as a size 12, but that will vary on your fly tying style (such as; is that size 12 or 10 going to have a hackle in front to take up the slack where the quill ends? Are you using a bead? Ect)
It’s also is based on the size and thickness of each quill that comes in a package.For the most part they are uniform, but they aren’t synthetic, which is why there will be a tiny variation between them.
Some flies you tie may require a solid body with very minimal segmentation. If that’s the case then just tie them in the “wrong” way.
It’s all up to you and what you’re wishing to achieve. But I use the term “wrong” very loosely; since your right- may be someones wrong. Which is why I am making this tutorial to help you reach the results that you are looking for, when it comes to tying with polish quills. *I receive a lot of questions about this technique, at shows and online; and some people are telling me that no matter how they do it it still comes out wrong.
So here’s my advice: if you tie this in as per the first few steps and it still isn’t working to your liking/cant figure out why its still wrapping upside down- then scroll down and see my troubleshooting tip. This is why, depending on your style of tying -are you an “over the material” or “to the side of the material” wrapper- it’s not set in stone on how to do this. (This may seem confusing but It will make more sense when you see this step-by-step as it was also demonstrated here -when working with turkey biots.)
I had a question from Vicky who I met last year while doing a soft hackle presentation at the Anglers Den, about where to find the wild type brown and what to use as a substitute. The Whiting Wild type brown is one of my favorite all around dark brown hackles but its mostly reserved… Continue reading On The Vise:Q & A “Substitute material for wild type brown/Iso Soft Hackle”