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Old 01-13-2013, 08:24 AM
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Default hackle pliers for soft hackle question

Hi,

I got David Hughes "Wet flies" which is an excellent book - he advocates tying stem-first with soft hackles, but I'm breaking them like crazy doing this. I can do tip-first and it works fine, but I like the idea of reinforcing the hackle with thread as you'd do with the stem-first procedure.

Anyway - tips on pliers that won't break the feather? I only have the common brass ones that would come with a beginning fly kit.

Thank you!
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:33 AM
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Default Re: hackle pliers for soft hackle question

Watch how Hans ties them


YouTube
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:30 AM
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Default Re: hackle pliers for soft hackle question

I like Hughes' wet-fly technique a lot. I nearly always use that method. I also have 3 or 4 different hackle pliers. I like this style the best for most applications:

Click the image to open in full size.

It has a rubber pad on one side and holds pretty tight. But a lot of practice is necessary too, no matter which tool you have.

---------- Post added at 10:30 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:17 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by flytire View Post
Watch how Hans ties them


YouTube
That is great little video. He is a master and makes that look a lot easier than it is for "non-masters"! I wouldn't recommend a beginning tyer attempt that first move of tying the thread and feather on simultaneously, but dang thats a cool move! I love it.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: hackle pliers for soft hackle question

while its more difficult. wind them with you hands. Hold the hackle in the tips of your finger and thumb, wind over the hook, then with your free hand, hold the hackle against the far side of the hook with your finger, then take the winding hand under the shank, grab the hackle and wind it over again....takes some practice and if you have a bobbin rest, i'd use it too, that way the hanging thread wont get in the way.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: hackle pliers for soft hackle question

My favorite so far are the ones Dean Pictured. I had the standard ones that come in most kits as well and used to break them almost no matter what, even after adding shrink tubing to the jaw of it. I have yet to break any with the pair pictured unless it was completly do to man handling the hackle.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: hackle pliers for soft hackle question

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Originally Posted by s fontinalis View Post
while its more difficult. wind them with you hands. Hold the hackle in the tips of your finger and thumb, wind over the hook, then with your free hand, hold the hackle against the far side of the hook with your finger, then take the winding hand under the shank, grab the hackle and wind it over again....takes some practice and if you have a bobbin rest, i'd use it too, that way the hanging thread wont get in the way.
That is a great move to learn. I use it for pheasant tail fiber and herl bodies too. The technique can also be used in tandem with a hackle pliers to help with small feathers but allowing you to use very little pull on the pliers (because you are holding the feather with opposite hand).
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: hackle pliers for soft hackle question

Thank you guys for the help! I'm going to watch the video in a second -- and I'll look into the pliers you've listed.

I'm using pheasant (hen) neck feathers from some birds we hunted this Christmas, and tying them in tip-first works just fine -- just the other way that is giving me problems. The flies I'm tying are not too small (10-14 mostly) so I'll try the hand winding thing too. Sounds kind of hard.

Thanks!
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: hackle pliers for soft hackle question

I wind by hand as well, never had hackle pliers but I always tie tip first. The sorter barbs I think help prop up the longer barbs.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: hackle pliers for soft hackle question

I'm with Eunan and Mr. Bash. I tie in tie in tip first and tied them in by hand because the hackle pliers I had in my starter kit never seemed to hold for me. I've tried a couple of different pliers over the years and often go back to tying them in by hand.

When I'm winding hackle on smaller flies or more intricate places, I do like the pliers Hans used in the video flytire posted as they seem to grip better than anything I've used.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: hackle pliers for soft hackle question

I have been seriously been thinking about using one of these as hackle pliers. I hate the ones that came with my kit, the stem is always slipping. For $3.50, how can you go wrong??

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