Hello. I've recently been on a bucktail streamer tying kick (thanks the to article I'll link below) and am getting good results, but my ability to get the bucktail wings to lie down as appropriate is hit or miss. Any tips or tricks when tying in buck tail hair wings? Thanks much! - Zack
The first thing that comes to mind, even though you are using bucktail, some of that can be hollow, and tying that down will pop your wing right up. The hair near the base of the tail is often that way.
Also, if you are ending your body abruptly, then tying in the wing in front of it, once again the wing will pop right up. You want a nice tapered transition to tie the wing onto.
I stay WAY away from the LARGE NORTHERN BUCKTAIL that so many purveyors of materials like to sell. Give me the smaller, straighter (those big tails often have very kinky hair) tail every time for a wing that ties in nicely and lays down just the way I want it to.
Here's to a better wing,
added: here's how I like the bucktail in my wings to look:
Gary has you steered in the right direction with his answer and he is quite the hair wing tier. I removed the link you pasted to the thread because it contained a forum. We don't allow links that direct our members away from our site. I hope you will not be too upset by this rule, it's one of the things that keeps us here. Generally speaking you can find an answer to anything you want to know through our member base and when wanting to show something to the readers here it is better to load a picture of it rather than to direct the reader to leave our safe web site in order to view the topic.
Zack, Gary's advise it likely right on the money for your issue. However, if possible, posting some pictures would be helpful to determine the exact problem.
Gary, superbly tied fly, very elegant!
I certainly agree with Gary about the possible causes, and about the selection of materials. Although, I use a lot of those big tails, primarily for tying large saltwater flies, the best use for the really big, & mostly hollow hair at the base of a tail is for tying very large jigs where you need bulk. Not the best for most flies however. (There are exceptions to everything! I've used such hair when tying large Muddler heads on saltwater & bass flies, so there is a use for it!)
Primarily, the upper two thirds of most bucktails is the better hair for tying flies. Not always, as there will be variations with any natural material, but most of the time.
When selecting suitable bucktails, I compare the hair fibers to the hair on a squirrel tail. If it's close to the same texture & fineness, and possibly straightness, then it should be a good choice for tying. And, as he said, often the small to medium size tails will have more of this type hair than the big tails & are a better choice for most flies.
I've tied a lot of hair jigs for bass too, and much prefer the small to medium size tails. Most of my jigs are tied with hair of about 3 inches long or less, so the same hair I prefer for jigs is the same hair that's best for flies.
The only other thing I can think of that may also be an issue is the sparseness of your flies. It's a common problem, and most folks make the same mistake of trying to use too much hair. If you use Gary's fly as your example, the amount of hair he's used for the individual colors is perfect!
I am indeed using primarily a large buck tail, as well as (shudder) cut pieces of buck tail, purchased on the cheap in order to get some color variety to tie the flies in the article I'd found. I certainly have noticed differences in the characteristics of hair from different pieces, and have encountered hair that flares (hollow) when tied down - I have these pieces set aside for poppers some time down the road.
I appreciate the pointer to the smaller tails and the tip likening desirable hair to squirrel tail, which I have also been using a fair amount of for the flies in this list. Too often I find myself holding materials, working with them, and scratching my head wondering how, given the characteristics of my particular batch, I can get them to do anything resembling what a pattern originator has been able to. Material selection via online stores seems to be hit or miss at best.
Ard - my apologies for the link, that's my fault. I have read the rules but its been a few years
Thanks again all - Zack
---------- Post added at 06:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:07 PM ----------
Rip Tide - how do you use glue to put them in place??
Zack you've gotten great advice-- here's a fairly recent post that might help a bit when shopping for bucktails: Bucktail
It also shows the difference in flaring between hair from the finer, solid hairs at the tip of the bucktail and the thicker, hollow hair at the base.
But some other tips might also come in handy.
1. Assuming you're right handed after you've taken several tight wraps to bind down the bucktail, you can take additional wraps of thread as you work rearward using less and less tension-- as you take these looser wraps they will help gather the bucktail and reduce flaring.
2. If you are building a wing with different layers of bucktail, trim the butts and cover with thread so that each layer helps to build a staircase, with the butts of the bottom layer the longest, and the butts of each additional layer trimmed rearward of the one below it.
Top layer =====
middle layer ========
bottom layer ============
This will help build a natural looking taper into the finished fly.
3. Experiment with the amount of bucktail you use in the wing-- As BigJim points out it often seems that really sparse flies seem to have a much more lifelike look and action in the water as opposed to wings tied with a lot of bucktail. (GT's streamer is a great example.)
Riptides' right on the money with the superglue as Mark's note on the staggered hair stacking is right there, too. Couldn't agree with Ard more on the sparseness issue.
I often use a tiny drop of superglue on squirrel tail-winged salmon wet flies, especially the Glitter Bear. Squirrel tail hair is one slippery material, and the superglue, or even just a drop of head cement, really adds a LOT of durability to a fly.
Thanks for the supportive comments about the fly everyone.