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Old 06-01-2008, 07:36 PM
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Default Soft Hackle Substitutes

I'm getting ready to tie up some of the older soft hackle patterns and wanted to ask if anyone out there knows of or has used any good substitutes for the hackle feathers that are in some of the original recipies; many of which call for European wild bird hackle from now protected species. In particular, I'm interested in good substitutes for Dotteral and Land Rail.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:37 AM
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Default Re: Soft Hackle Substitutes

Get yourself a Hungarian Partridge skin...Many useful feathers...

Dan
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: Soft Hackle Substitutes

Think dan is onto something.......
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Soft Hackle Substitutes

I have been tying a lot of soft hackle wets lately and I also use the Hungarian Partridge.
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Soft Hackle Substitutes

Hi Pocono,

I don't know what Dotteral looks like so it is hard to give substitutions. Here are some good feathers for Soft Hackle flies besides Hungarian Partridge. You will note that the Brahma hen back is somewhat similar to the Land Rail body feathers, well maybe a little. Starling wings are also dyed brown and sold commercially as ’landrail substitute’.

To get what you want you may have to find something with the right pattern and dye it.

Frank

1. Starling Skin are neat. Parts of the bird look like Snipe.
2. Indian Hen Backs and necks.
3. Bobwhite Quail body feathers.
4. American Speckled Brahma hen back.

Land Rail
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Speckled Brahma hen back
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Soft Hackle Substitutes

Frank mentioned dying Starling; if you live where Starlings are a problem to the local farmer or orchardist you might be able to help yourself and him as well. Shoot the little pests for him and you, he harvests more fruit, you harvest an abundance of fly tying material. The males with that beautiful blue black coloring make for some excellent colors for flies, but the hens with their drab brown coloration will make some wonderful feathers for small soft hackles.

Dan
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Soft Hackle Substitutes

One more thing along this path before I am attacked as a barbarian; they are edible. They may not be as tasty as a dove, but you can eat them; and there are no growth hormones in them.

Dan
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Soft Hackle Substitutes

Hi Pocono,

Here is a photo of a Black-fronted Dotterel. The feathers used for tying seem to be a dark brown. "If the dotterel feather is unobtainable a feather from the under coverts of a young Starling's wing makes a fair substitute".

Frank


Black-fronted Dotterel by Neil Fifer
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: Soft Hackle Substitutes

So Pocono, you're back from across the pond! I know from some of your earlier posts that you have most of the standard soft-hackle skins. I'm just keeping an eye on this thread to see if someone comes up with something that I don't have as well! I've been filling in some of the missing links with different dyed hen skins. I like Franks' notation on dyed starling. I hadn't considered that. I know I haven't seen it advertised in any of the standard places.

Just got back from a 3 day 'wetfly' fishing trip to Clinton and Potter County. We fished Kettle Creek, First Fork and Cross Fork. Primarily brookies (Cross Fork) and Rainbows (First Fork and Kettle). Great trip! Warm days and cold nights! Did a little local fishing today. It was a sparse Green Drake hatch. Did most of my catching on a Green Drake wet I tied up.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:58 AM
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Default Re: Soft Hackle Substitutes

i have these, and others. just got another 12.
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