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Old 12-16-2013, 11:28 AM
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Default Correct way to get a hackle to lay down edge first ?

I'm having a hit or miss on getting my hackles to lay down edge first. I have tried tying them in edge down, flat down, angled, parallel,,etc and etc,,and still have problems at times in keeping them from wanting to lay down flat.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Mike
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Correct way to get a hackle to lay down edge first ?

As a wise man once said, "there are many ways to skin a cat"

Not sure i get what you mean 'edge first'. what flies are you tying, what hackles are you using - rooster, hen, bugger, saddle, cape? Is it to be a collar, or a palmered hackle? A dry fly hackle collar?? Too many variables here.

That said, there are a couple ways to do it and if you're using rooster hackle, you may want to fold it first. If its a dry fly hackle or wooly bugger hackle, no folding required.

Strip the part you want to tie in, the strip a 1/8th inch piece on side of the hackle that will lay on the hook. then hold the hackle at 45 degrees above the shank of the hook so that the part to be tied in is right at the tie in point. Take several wraps to secure the hackle and wrap.

Another way is to tie the hackle in by the tip rather than the butt.
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:46 AM
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Default Re: Correct way to get a hackle to lay down edge first ?

It's my dries I have problems with ,,with rooster hackle.

Mike
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: Correct way to get a hackle to lay down edge first ?

One method....

1. Start by assuring you have a relatively smooth base for wrapping the hackle.

2. Hold your hackle parallel to the hook shank with the butt toward the hook eye and hackle tip toward bend. If it's important whether your shiny side (convex or "front") or dull side (concave or "back") faces forward on the finished fly, decide that now. If you want the shiny side toward the front, then hold your hackle with the shiny side toward you now.

3. Get to the "sweet spot" now. If this is a neck hackle, in particular, you need to clip off the webby portion from the butt. Even if there's very little web, you still need to clip away the thicker, less pliable stem.

4. Clip or strip enough barbs from the butt to expose enough stem to securely tie in the hackle. Now, while holding the hackle parallel to the shank with butt toward hook eye, remove the barbs from the top side only for another 1/8 to 1/4".

5. Secure the hackle at the tie in location, keeping the feather parallel to the shank. Remember to not wrap over the butt section which is stripped on the top side only. When you secure the hackle, do so with several adjacent but not overlapping turns of thread. Continue wrapping this way to maintain a smooth base for the hackle until you reach the tie-off location. Let bobbin hang.

6. Gently pull the hackle clear of the shank and put your thumb behind and against the hackle butt. Now press your thumb against the butt and put a bend in it so that the hackle is now perpendicular to the shank. This orients the hackle stem in line for the first turn so that you aren't having to rotate the hackle as you wind. Stripping the butts from one side helps you make that first turn without the barbs rotating the stem out of line.

7. Now wrap your hackle.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:08 PM
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Default Re: Correct way to get a hackle to lay down edge first ?

SOMETIMES this happens because the stems of the hackles are too thick, or aren't 'round'. OCCASIONALLY it will help to strip the base of the hackle a little further on the side that will lay against the hook as you begin to wrap it, so it's bare stem being wrapped against the shank to start. Then, as you wrap it forward, use your opposite thumbnail as a guide for the hackle to wrap against. This helps ensure you have 'touching turns' as you wrap, which should help your hackle stand up straight.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Correct way to get a hackle to lay down edge first ?

Fellas,,thank you. The thumb pressure guide/push was all I needed. That and I kinda push with the thumb to a gentle 'fold' in the stem,,and presto,,it works great. So simple, yet I wasn't doing it. Trying it made all the difference in the world in getting them to constantly roll correctly.
Also, I started paying more attention to the area were the quill becomes 'right' for hackling,,stripping above the thicker portions. I was stripping before, but probably not quite far enough from the looks of things. I'm sure it was my desire to not make my feather shorter in the beginning so as to have more feather left for a second and possibly a third fly. Probably not the area to try to save a couple pennies.

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Old 12-17-2013, 08:59 PM
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Default Re: Correct way to get a hackle to lay down edge first ?

Yeah, feathers don't always do what we tell them to, so they need some physical encouragement. You did the right thing by fighting the urge and snipping off enough butt end.
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