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Old 05-10-2007, 07:44 PM
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Default Palmering

I am having trouble palmering. Ive tried one, two and and three hackles. when I start my wraps either the hackles twist and bunch up or break half way through the wrap. If they do stay on the fly they look all sorts of "flicted". any suggestions are much appreciated.
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Old 05-11-2007, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Palmering

What grade hackle are you using? Higher quality feathers are a must. You can tell the difference between good quality and cheap. I'll use cheap feathers on wooly buggers but that's it. That is one common problem.

Could be the amount of pull on the feather. I sometimes break them off pulling too hard. Are you using hackle pliers?

Sometimes I'll strip off one side of the hackle if it comes out to messy looking or doesn't lay down right.

When you tie in the hackle, try to position it on the hook so when you start wrapping it, it will lay down the way it should go.

Those are the only ideas I can think of.
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Old 05-11-2007, 09:13 PM
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Default Re: Palmering

thanks mitch,

whiting farms, and some off brand (more problems with the off brand than the whiting farms). is there a difference between strung and hackles on the hide?

how do I find the grade of hackle?

Sometimes I use pliers, most of the time between the finger tips.

I will try stripping one side and different positions on the hook.
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Old 05-12-2007, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Palmering

Hi tbrillinger223,

You don't say what fly you are tying but here are a couple of ideas. Practice with a single feather until you are getting good results. Some people use their fingers but I think a beginner would do better using hackle pliers. The reason I say that is when you need to stop wrapping for some reason, you can hang the pliers from the fly and the weight of the pliers will keep tension on the hackle. You can try stripping one side of the hackle like Colorado Cajun suggested. The problem with this approach is you will get a very thin Palmer. It does make it easier to wrap. Try using a single feather but bend/pull the hackles so it looks like both sides of the hackle are coming from one side of the stem. So here is the procedure for a right hander. Tye in the hackle by the tip. Hold the hackle stem in hackle pliers with the right hand above the fly. Take you left thumb and forefinger and pull back the hackle, folding the two sides of the hackle back onto each other. Now, while holding the folded hackle, start your first wrap down the back side of the fly. Once you start the wrap the hackle will be held against the hook shank and you can make a complete wrap back to the top of the fly with the pliers. Now, grasp more hackle and fold it back and make you second wrap. Continue this procedure until you have palmered the complete body. Another tip is to make a complete wrap around the hook shank before you start your forward wrap/palmer. Also end the palmer wrap with a complete wrap around the hook shank at the end of the palmer wrap. This procedure is meant for a hackle tied at the rear and palmered forward but can be done either way. Fly tying is about developing a technique that works. You need to practice and experiment to find a method that works for you. There is no wrong way to tye, just some ways are better than others.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: Palmering

Thanks Frank,

most of the flies I tie are for saltwater species. (snook, sea trout, tarpon,redfish...etc.).I am going to give your suggestions a try. How do I determine the grade of hackle?

I am looking to start trout fishing, and will be asking hundreds of questions on what patterns to tie, how to tie them and how to fish them. I look forward to your input on this subject as well others.
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Old 05-13-2007, 12:42 PM
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Default Re: Palmering

Hi tbrillinger223,

Hackle grading is a study in its self. These charts from Whiting give you some good information about the grade of flies and what grade to use for certain flies. Many people buy the most expensive neck thinking they are getting the best hackle for the job. That may be true for dry flies but a top grade dry fly hackle would be a poor choice for a soft hackle fly. High grade dry fly hackle is stiff, has very little web and are long and narrow. Good wet fly hackle has more web and is quite soft and generally not very narrow. The trick is to use the right hackle for the job. I was very successful learning hackle by selecting a fly I wanted to tie and then ordering the appropriate hackle from a trusted supply house. The trick is to order from someone who knows their business. I have always had good luck with Kaufmann's and Feather Craft. You can call and state what you are tying and they will provide the best hackle for the job. These people have been buying and selling hackle for many years. My favorite way of buying good hackle for dry flies is to buy the "100" packs from Whiting's. You can get just the correct size you need for the flies you are tying and you don't have to spend big bucks for a full cape or neck. Some of the Whiting's saddle hackles are just unbelievable.





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Recent studies on Whiting dry fly saddles reveal that as the grade is higher, more flies can be tied from the pelt. This makes the cost-per-fly decrease for higher grades. For the volume tier, this is great news, but for the hobby tier, cost per fly is less of a concern. In this case a silver or bronze grade saddle may be the hobby tier’s best choice.
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Old 05-13-2007, 08:51 PM
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Default Re: Palmering

thank you again frank. you are a wealth of knowledge and look forward to your input on many of my upcoming questions.

like I said before in a post marked trout fishing, I am looking to break into this side of the sport. Because I live here in south florida and work dosnt allow me to travel frequently, I dont get the opportunity to trout fish regularly. If you have any tips, pointers or general suggestions on this side of the sport, Im all ears ( or fingers in this sense.)
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:02 AM
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Default Re: Palmering

I see Frank gave you some really good info. I like having a cape because it gives you feathers of all sizes in a color. Like Frank pointed out, they are more expensive. I do buy the packs too for dry flies.
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: Palmering

I am going to have to get better hackles!!
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Old 05-14-2007, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: Palmering

tbrillinger223,
Frank is dead on as usual. Another thing you might consider is purchasing a pair of hackle pliers that have the rubber tubing over the jaws of the pliers. It provides some give when you may have applied to much pressure when turning your hackle. Also, on the same note you might consider the Rotating Hackle pliers with the rubber tubing over the jaws of the pliers which also helps when you torque the pressure up on your wrap. If you have a rotary vise you may not care to have the rotating hackle pliers.

Hopefully, this will help your situation. Let us know how it turns out.
Thanks,
Terry
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