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Old 10-07-2015, 12:47 AM
soilworker soilworker is offline
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Default Resources for Identifying Hackles/Saddles/Feathers/Furs/etx

Hey Everyone,

So I recently bought a decent fly tying kit off craigslist (at least it seems so) plus I got some more fly tying equipment from my girlfriend's dad but the problem I'm having is I have no idea what most of the feathers and such are. I see fly tying recipes online but have no idea if I have the feathers/furs/etc I have are the right ones. There is about 20-30 feathers\hackles\saddles\furs that are unlabeled that I can't identify. I can figure out the peacock\pheastant tails but that about it.

What is the best way to go about identifying these things? Is there something online resource I can compare pictures to? Would a local fly shop be my best bet? Is there some forum I could ask on? I'd ask here but it seems like a lot of feathers\hackles\furs\etc to be asking about.

I want to make the best of this material but being so new at fly tying I don't really know where\how to use it.

Thanks for any suggestions\help!
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:40 AM
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moucheur2003 moucheur2003 is offline
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Default Re: Resources for Identifying Hackles/Saddles/Feathers/Furs/etx

If you have a local fly shop nearby, bring the whole collection in at a time when business is slow. You can ask one of the clerks to help you identify stuff or at least compare it to what they have on the shelves. Chances are they would rather spend some slow time shooting the breeze about fly tying than sweeping the floor or restocking. But don't do it at a time when they have more productive things that need to get done, like actually selling stuff.

Oh, and bring your wallet. No doubt they will notice some absolutely essential stuff you are still missing.
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:59 AM
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Default Re: Resources for Identifying Hackles/Saddles/Feathers/Furs/etx

post a few pictures of the unidentified materials here and somebody will help you out

you could also go to an online retailer and sort through their website to see if any of their materials match any of yours

GOOGLE search for "fly tying furs", "fly tying feathers", "fly tying hairs" etc and view the images of those searches

example: https://www.google.com/search?q=fly+...ying+ffeathers
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: Resources for Identifying Hackles/Saddles/Feathers/Furs/etx

If you are starting from scratch and you don't have one yet, get an entry level instruction book.
I started with this one:
Talleur's Basic Fly Tying (Dick Talleur) | Used Books from Thrift Books

It was first published in '96 and it's good if you're interested in older, original styled flies. It starts with introducing the tools, then the materials and covers all the different materials as you learn to tie with them. I have other books now that cover a lot of variants of the old flies and new synthetics but I'm glad I know what they looked like originally.
Others on the site will recommend other books and most people will tell you it's a good investment, and a good adjunct to videos etc.
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Old 10-08-2015, 04:23 AM
hairwing530 hairwing530 is offline
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Default Re: Resources for Identifying Hackles/Saddles/Feathers/Furs/etx

I concur with moucheur2003. Give your local fly shop a call and ask about a good time to bring in the collection. They'll know best when they're liable to be least busy. And, don't forget to buy a few things while you're there. It shows good faith and appreciation on your end.

+1 to both flytire and JoJer's suggestions as well. If we can get some photos to look at, somebody here will be able to ID the pieces to the mix. And, Dick Talleur's Basic Fly Tying book is a good one to add to what will soon become a fly-fishing/fly-tying library of reference material.

Short of that, send off some photos to my home e-mail address, and I'll give them a look. With the left side getting better but still giving me fits on occasion due to its on-going "recuperation" mode, I can spend some of my "bench time" going over your collection.

Kudos to you for asking for advice, by the way...

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: Resources for Identifying Hackles/Saddles/Feathers/Furs/etx

Great advice & suggestions! It's highly likely that most of what you have will be commonly found materials. The more exotic stuff usually found in a tyers collection that primarily ties full dress style Salmon flies will be more difficult to identify.

You should be able to find much of what you have online too. Many of the better online suppliers have good pics of what they sell that can be used for comparisons.

Try the Bearsden, J Stockard or Bob Marriotts Fly Fishing. Such sources have pictures that will enlarge for better detail.

However, keep in mind that some materials will be sold under various names and it's possible that some may be similar enough to others that you may not be able to make positive ID. This is often true with natural fur materials salvaged from fur garments. I've personally seen dyed Mink & Muskrat garments that looked enough alike that it would take DNA testing to determine the actual animal. Furriers do that intentionally sometimes!

But, it's more probable if it's a "packaged" material from a fly tying supplier it will be something that can be readily identified.

The common furbearer animals, game birds & chicken breeds found in North American are often used for tying purposes so that's another place to search if you find it difficult to identify a particular material.
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