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Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2007/1/28 18:18
From Woodstock, MD
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I am tying some spider flies as shown in the current issue of American Angler. I started with some size 14 but when I get to 16 the hen hackle looks too large. Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Posted on: 2013/4/23 21:21


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2006/9/20 7:20
From SE Pa.
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Posted on: 2013/4/23 21:37


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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Posted on: 2013/4/23 22:09


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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Posted on: 2013/4/23 22:29


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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Allow me to be helpful with a two step process:

1) Throw the indian hen back into the trash.
2) Replace with a full starling skin.

Rejoice.

Posted on: 2013/4/24 1:09
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Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
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Quote:

gfen wrote:
Allow me to be helpful with a two step process:

1) Throw the indian hen back into the trash.
2) Replace with a full starling skin.

Rejoice.


qft

Posted on: 2013/4/24 2:27


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2006/11/2 8:50
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You can buy hen necks that have very small hackles.

Posted on: 2013/4/24 6:49


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2012/9/26 8:06
From lower burrell, pa
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My first couple attempts looked like something a cat would hack up

Posted on: 2013/4/24 7:23


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2012/1/13 15:28
From Ferguson Twp.
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Quote:

troutbert wrote:
You can buy hen necks that have very small hackles.

This is what I was going to suggest, and they're not that expensive.

Posted on: 2013/4/24 17:14
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Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2009/12/17 20:43
From Souderton PA
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Starling is really nice material and very versatile. But color is important in wets, so buy both, they are cheap.
Mike.

Posted on: 2013/4/25 0:25
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Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2006/9/9 11:22
From New Castle, PA
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Quote:

lv2nymph wrote:
Quote:

troutbert wrote:
You can buy hen necks that have very small hackles.

This is what I was going to suggest, and they're not that expensive.


Very true, but these alternate methods are a good way to use up the oversized feathers on a cape. They also allow you to use the nice mottled hen saddle feathers for smaller flies.

If you get away from chicken feathers, you almost have to do one of these methods eventually. Not many small feathers on a partridge skin for example. And the ones that are there are usually painfully short and fragile.

Posted on: 2013/4/25 8:02


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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Painfully true, and it is a good method for using the molted feathers when hen hackle will not do.

Posted on: 2013/4/25 17:55
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Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2011/7/27 22:21
From Peasant Gap
Posts: 61
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I've never had much luck with the alternative hackling shown here. I prefer quail shoulder or starling for my smaller flies.

Speaking of starling has anybody had good success using bleached and dyed Starling? I've heard the already fragile feathers become even more brittle and hard to work with.

Posted on: 2013/4/25 21:30


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

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2008/1/21 13:28
From South Central PA
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I like all of the feathers mentioned, including hen saddle. The key to hen saddle if you wind the stem instead of distribution wrap is recognizing the unusually steep taper of the barbs on the stem. Hold the extreme tip in small hackle pliers and stroke back the barbs. You get fibers from # 30 through to # 10.

However, the taper goes very fast, so there will only be maybe 2-4 fibers at 20, 18, 16, 14, etc up to # 10 at which point there are plenty.

So, using magnification if required, note the length of the fibers on the stem at the tip and stroke back from the tip. Tie in by the tip and wind only those fibers. At first that may not seem like enough, but it is. I frankly like the taper effect of having a few 20s, 18s and 16s barbs. On a # 16 that is plenty of fibers and some would say too much.

When tying a fly, Leisenring tied the hackle in first and I advise you learn to do the same. In this instance, tie in tip first with the tip facing the bend, dull side on top of hook. Yes, you have to use the wrong hand to do this but it's not that hard after you get it secured. Tie the rest of the fly and when you come up to the front, leave the bobbin a bit behind the feather and wrap back to it, secure, trim, move to eye, gather fibers and stroke back slightly, then whip or hitch.

Or use any fiber you want by distribution wrap. If all you want is a collar, it makes no difference.

However, there are very interesting effects that can be produced by winding hackle. I will often wrap the hackle first and include far more than I will leave standing at the end. This allows me to gather barbs anywhere on the shank as I see fit. The bulk of tying down or trimming what I don't use is minimal. The steep taper of the hen saddle is a considerable advantage in doing this, since I need the long fibers to get to the middle or further on the shank, but still have the the short fibers at the front. What seems like a problem has been turned into a tactical advantage not available with other materials.

Hen Saddle Feather Steep Taper

Resized Image


Hen and Peacock, #16 regular shank. A three minute tie.

Resized Image

Posted on: 2013/4/26 12:06


Re: Hen hackle on Spider Patterns

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11385
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Quote:

LongLineRelease wrote:
Speaking of starling has anybody had good success using bleached and dyed Starling? I've heard the already fragile feathers become even more brittle and hard to work with.


Lift wing, enjoy white feathers.

They're fish, not interior designers; if colour is your thing think about the sum total not that your wings are not the proper shade of mottled taupe.


Posted on: 2013/4/26 16:44
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