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Old 02-02-2010, 02:32 PM
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Default tying soft hackle

i've been having some issues with this soft hackle thing. i'm working on a partridge and orange for the beginner swap and i could use some advice. i've been trying out all of the ways, folding the feather and winding, stripping one side, tying in at the feather tip, and at the base. One reason its not looking great is the barbs on all my feathers are too big, so i ordered a starling skin which is on its way. but i feel like thats not a good enough excuse for the sloppiness. I know the partridge and orange is supposed to be really sparse but when I do that sometimes I get gaps and also a few of the barbs curve the wrong way. I've also tried putting dubbing and a wrap of thread behind the hackle to make it more perpindicular but that also makes the barbs twist or scrunch up. another method I've tried out was spinning the ends of a hackle feather. That way i could get it to the right size. But then I lose the curving barbs and they also lay flatter on the hook.

here's some photos of what i'm talking about. let me know what methods you guys prefer and any helpful hints you've got. thanks!

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Old 02-02-2010, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: tying soft hackle

It looks like your tying very small soft hackles, and having a bit of trouble with the heads of them becoming too bulky. Dropping down to a thinner thread like 8/0 may help. It also may help to practice tying size 12's, and then working your way down in size.

I tend to tie the feather in like so-

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do two wraps of hackle moving back towards the bend, tie off and whip finish, and do two thread wraps through the hackle and do a small whip finish up front. (I always whip finish twice.)
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: tying soft hackle

Take a look at this thread: CLICK HERE The fly in the first post is
mine, and there's a link to Charlie Craven's tutorial in my second post. No
matter which way you tie in the hackle, it's important not to use too many
wraps over the hackle. One extra wrap toward the back of the hook will draw
the hackle down over the hook shank. Having a little thorax helps immensely.
Don't get to caught up in Charlie's details about making the V cut. I just
draw all the barbules down, and snip off what's between my thumb and index
finger. Same thing, but without getting too complicated.

P.S. I just looked at Charlie's tutorial again, and it should be pointed out that the stem is not tied onto the hook.
Cliff's method does use the stem, and works very well if you have the right size hackle. I buy mine in bulk bags, and
Craven's method makes even the biggest hackle work on the smallest hook. Charlie's hackles seem to be swept back
a bit more than I remembered, but even a tiny thorax will solve that.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: tying soft hackle

i actually am using size 12s. i know i've got bulky head syndrome. i've ordered some 6/0 and a whip finisher but if i need to i will try 8/0 too. should i move the hackle closer to the eye? i'll take a look at that thread Frank. Thanks!

---------- Post added at 02:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:44 PM ----------

actually, Charlie's tutorial was the one i was following. i think i found it on your thread a couple weeks ago i really like the method and thats what i feel most comfortable with at this point. i really like your peacock herl thorax too. I think i'll give it a go. Thanks again!
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: tying soft hackle

Go ahead and move the hackle foward. Don't be afraid of getting it too close
or far away: you can always tie in another. Unless you're tying a streamer
pattern, small heads look better. 8/0 thread is very useful, and it's tougher
than you might think. There's nothing in a soft hackle pattern that needs
to be bound tightly with 6/0, but it's fine as long as you keep the windings
to a minimum.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: tying soft hackle

If you get some 8/0 practice breaking it before you tie with it. Start the thread on the hook, wrap enough on to where there's no way its going to slip, and then practice pulling on it until it breaks. This will give you an idea of just how strong it is, and keep you from being too ginger with it. (a common way bulk develops)
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: tying soft hackle

Hi mepeterser2451,

I posted a video on how to tye The Partridge and Yellow Soft Hackle. It is a good video and may help you out. It is located here.

Frank
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:07 PM
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Default Re: tying soft hackle

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
Go ahead and move the hackle foward. Don't be afraid of getting it too close
or far away: you can always tie in another. Unless you're tying a streamer
pattern, small heads look better. 8/0 thread is very useful, and it's tougher
than you might think. There's nothing in a soft hackle pattern that needs
to be bound tightly with 6/0, but it's fine as long as you keep the windings
to a minimum.

I agree with Frank about 8/0 thread ((I use Uni thread). I tie Salmon Flies with it on #6 and smaller hooks. In my opinion, it's tougher than most people think and you can give it a good hard pull to pinch down duck wing, turkey, etc. If in doubt about how tough it is, thread a bare hook and pull down with your bobbin until the thread breaks; you'll be surprised - you can pull pretty hard and it will stay intact. In my opinion, there are a lot more threads that break due to hook nicks and uneven tension than there are those that break due to the process of snugging your materials down on the hook.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: tying soft hackle

Great video Frank, thank you! 6/0 thread will be too big for these smaller patterns I really recommend 8/0 to give you the heads you are looking for.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: tying soft hackle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Whiton View Post
Hi mepeterser2451,

I posted a video on how to tye The Partridge and Yellow Soft Hackle. It is a good video and may help you out. It is located here.

Frank
thanks Frank! i actually found that video on youtube! its excellent. i must have watched it at least 10 times already.
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