I have been struggling with my soft hackling. I seem to be getting a "twist" as I try to wrap. I'm stripping the bottom of the feather to get the webbies off, tieing in by the tip, trying get the dull side towards the hook shank. I also seem to be breaking the feather as I try to wrap. I get my hackle pliers on the tip, wrap carefully, I think, but keep breaking. This is all with partridge feathers as I have been working on some soft hackle flies. Thanks all!
Not certain but I think your feathers are dried out. Trying soaking the bottoms in a hint of water. I can't answer the twist thing as I seldom have that trouble.
As you wind stroke the fibres back with the index finger and thumb of your non tying hand. Its a technique from tying salmon flies called doubling. With game bird hackles it takes a deft touch to pull it off. If you do this, you can shape the hackle according to how you want it to be when finished. A little hair conditioner may help with the splitting of the stems.
You just woke me up. How do you tie in by the tip and then put the hackle pliers on the tip? :rolleyes:
Partridge feathers are quite delicate you can't put much tension when you wrap.
There is another technique. You cut the tip out of the feather, place then feather over the eye pointing to the rear and , with your thread wrap, sort of spin it around the hook.
There appreciate videos on this technique. I think Craig Matthews has a video on the technique......
Originally Posted by Ray Kunz
I read and reread that twice. Just as confused as you and so I didn't answer the question.
Melk - Please clarify, maybe we'll understand your dilemma a little better and be able to respond.
agree that partridge hackles are very delicate. If you have a rotary vise, I sometimes tie in the hackle, clamp my hackle pliers onto the stem and let it hang then rotate the vise.
Okay. let me try again. I do have a rotary vise, fritz, I never thought of letting the hackle hang and rotating the vise. I 'll try that also. I have been trying this - I strip the fuzzy part off of the partridge feather. I carefully cut the tip section to make a "v" shape. Then I tie in the tip, concave side down, on top of the hook shank. So, I now grasp the stem of the feather with the hackle pliers and carefully try to align the feather perpendicular to the hook. As I wind the hackle around the hook, I seem to get a lot of twisting, the hackle twisting itself so that the feathers get "bunched" up. I have gotten about 3 out of 10 to look semi decent but would like to increase that ratio. The feathers may be old and referencing the post above, I may try to soak the stems a little. Also, I've read and viewed. It seems that 50 % tie the stem first, then warp, 50 % tie the tip, then wrap. I'm easy, what, in the collective wisdom, is the best way?
Thanks and I hope this clears my problem up a little.
I have a pack of Partridge feathers that would break easy while wrapping so I tried using the rotary to wrap the feather. Worked very well with the soft hackle without me pulling on the feather.
Originally Posted by fritz
This may not be the concensus but here is my way. After stripping off the fuzz, pull the fibers back exposing the little tip that you previously would clip off. Tie the feather in by this tip. clip off the excess, attach your pliers and wind on. In addition I would heavily moisten your left thumb and index fingers with saliva and stroke back every wrap right down onto the hook shank as you go.