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Old 04-10-2008, 05:46 PM
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Default Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

I like the soft hackle wet fly pattern and I'm having some good luck with it on our local streams.

But, I'm having a hard time sourcing what I consider to be good quality partridge feathers. I've gone to American Bahama hen backs, but I don't like the effect as well as a good partridge feather. I'm also considering Starling for the smaller files, but haven't gone there yet and I don't think that I really want to.

I've tried 3 of the commercial partridge feather suppliers; all with approximately the same result; bags of mixed brown and gray feathers; most of which are either all fluff or have hackling sections that are too short to be useful (nowhere near 2x hook gap for a size 14 wet fly/nymph hook). Does anyone out there have a good source of partidge feathers for soft hackle flies (sizes 12-16) that they'd be willing to share? I would appreciate it.
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

A little pricey but you get what you pay for. Try this link.
Blue Ribbon Flies \\ Merchandise \\ Fly Tying \\ Bird Skins and Feathers
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Hi Pocono,

I bought a full skin from Feather-Craft a few years back. They are selling pen raised Hungarian Partridge Skins. Mine had a good range of sizes. I don't know anything about the skins they are offering today.

Frank

Pen Raised Hungarian Partridge Skin
Item #: TP028

PEN-RAISED #1 HUNGARIAN PARTRIDGE SKINS These are beautiful. Smaller than wild birds, with smaller feathers to tye smaller flies. Select from both the grey and the brown feather from these skins.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Quote:
Originally Posted by fyshstykr View Post
A little pricey but you get what you pay for. Try this link.
Blue Ribbon Flies \\ Merchandise \\ Fly Tying \\ Bird Skins and Feathers
Well, I paid for it! Now, let's see how it hackles. Thanks for the link. Looks like a very good site. Addictive!
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Whole skins are really the way to go. I'm hackling from two different skins right now; I've also used quail skins with good results and the starling are great for little bwo soft-hackles, starling and herls, and it also does a good job of hackling small pheasant tail nymphs. I've even used the small irridescent black feathers from the neck of a cock pheasant. If you ever get a chance to pick up Allen Mcgee's book 'Tying and Fishing the Soft-Hackle Nymph', he shows several methods of using 'oversized' partridge hackle for really small soft-hackles like tricos and regular small soft-hackles in sizes like 18's and 20's. As you can tell, I use the soft-hackle fly very frequently. I spent most of today fishing a Grannon Caddis 'hatch' with small hares-ear soft hackles. The results were quite satisfying!
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

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Originally Posted by Pocono View Post
Well, I paid for it! Now, let's see how it hackles. Thanks for the link. Looks like a very good site. Addictive!


eeeek, I was only kidding!!

I think you will be happy with your purchase, they take great pride in the quality of their product. Let us know.

Craig and Jackie are very nice people too.
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

I also recommend buying the full skin of a Hungarian Partridge. It will last you a LONG time and mine that I've kept in the zip-loc it came in hasn't gotten dry and crappy over the 6 years I've had it. Mine was a Wapsi offering, hardly a boutique purchase. Buying a full skin is EASILY a solid investment.
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Old 04-12-2008, 05:54 AM
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Default Re: Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenwood View Post
Whole skins are really the way to go. I'm hackling from two different skins right now; I've also used quail skins with good results and the starling are great for little bwo soft-hackles, starling and herls, and it also does a good job of hackling small pheasant tail nymphs. I've even used the small irridescent black feathers from the neck of a cock pheasant. If you ever get a chance to pick up Allen Mcgee's book 'Tying and Fishing the Soft-Hackle Nymph', he shows several methods of using 'oversized' partridge hackle for really small soft-hackles like tricos and regular small soft-hackles in sizes like 18's and 20's. As you can tell, I use the soft-hackle fly very frequently. I spent most of today fishing a Grannon Caddis 'hatch' with small hares-ear soft hackles. The results were quite satisfying!
Greenwood, thanks for the reference to the Mcgee book. It's on order, along with the older soft hackle book by Nemes and one other. I, too, really like this fly.

I put all of my wet flies and nymphs in a small fishbowl, move them around underwater and observe how they look. The soft hackle, when moved and paused, looks very buggy (actually, it looks a little like a jellyfish swimming - I know that jellyfish are not high up on a trout's "must eat" list, but the motion of the fly, I would think, is attractive to fish). Anyway, I now use this move/pause motion when fishing a soft hackle and it may be my optimistic imagination, but I think I'm hooking more fish!

Being somewhat new to this sport, I may be discovering the already known and there may be some of you who will label me as having a profound grasp of the obvious, but I really think that this is the way to fish this fly.
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

+1 for the Hungarian Partridge

Another soft hackle bird that's not well know but is readily available is the rump of a ringneck pheasant. Love the blue green iridescent feathers that glow underwater.
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: Good Partridge Feathers for Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Hi Pocono,
I spent the last two days fishing through the Grannom Caddis and BWO hatches fishing soft-hackles 80% of the time. I went with a three fly set-up with a hare's ear soft hackle on top, an old English pattern called a Dark Needle in the middle and W.C. Stewarts black spider on the point. I fished them upstream at times, across and down as well as on the swing. It was a very successful two days. Rained like crazy yesterday but that seemed to help! Biggest fish of the day was a Rainbow caught on the venerable Black Spider! Yep - I love the versatility of those flies. P.S.- Dave Hughes book - "Wet Flies" is a real good one as well.
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