Tying Hackle Feathers can be a complex and complete subject in
themselves. Hackle feathers are used on a fly to create movement or
when a bug like hair appearance is desired. They can be used to imitate
legs, wings, ect... The life
like motion of hackle feathers when in the water is hard to duplicate with synthetic fibers.
SPEY FLY HACKLE FEATHERS
talking about the subject of hackle an often overlooked and forgotten
category are spey fly hackles. Spey fly hackle could be in a separate
category, but are technically
hackle. Spey fly hackle have long, soft and flowing barbs that most
often imitate legs or antennae and tend to be the major feature on the
fly. Traditional Spey and Dee flies used spey cock hackle feathers,
which are now extinct. Herons and eagles then became a popular
substitute, but are now protected under the endangered species act.
Blue eared pheasant spey hackle feathers are most often used these days.
Blue Eared Pheasant Skin
You could probably find a skin for
around $100. The best grade skins
will cost a little more.
Blue Eared Pheasant Spey Fly Feathers
EARED PHEASANT FEATHERS
most popular available spey fly hackle might be Blue Eared Pheasant,
but there are many other feathers that have the desired properties.
Rump feathers from a ring neck pheasant or golden pheasant can be used
and are easy to obtain at reasonable prices. Schlappen
or marabou can sometimes be used with good success. An important
consideration when deciding what feathers to use on a spey fly will be the length and resistance of the barbs to marry together. The diameter and taper of the feather stem is also important. You want feathers with
slender stems or they can create a bump when tied on the fly.
Blue Eared Pheasant Feather
wispy barbs are
ideal hackle for spey flies
Commercial blue eared
pheasants are farmed raised
and most fly tying shops will have a couple
packages or they should be easy to order. The feathers can be dyed a
variety of colors. They are usually sorted by length from small, medium
and large. Most blue eared pheasant spey feathers sold at your local
fly tying shop will be good, but just average quality. Prices can be a
little expensive and will be reflective of the feather quality and barb
Golden Pheasant Skin
Golden Pheasant Rump Feathers have barbs that are translucent. They can
be used with spider patterns or spey and dee flies. The barbs are not
nearly as long as blue ears pheasant and would be used in conjunction with smaller flies
and hook sizes We have seen them package separately, but most likely
you will need to buy a complete skin. There are a limited number of
usable spey fly feathers on a complete golden pheasant skin, but the prices are reasonable, especially when considering the tippets and other great feathers that are included.
Golden Pheasant Spey Fly Feathers
Golden Pheasant Rump Spey Fly Feathers
The yellow golden pheasant spey fly feathers
are from the rump area. They have shorter barbs
than the red breast feathers.
Ringneck Pheasant Rump Feathers that
could be used for tying small spey flies.
RINGNECK PHEASANT FEATHERS
A ringneck pheasant skin or rump patch will have a limited number of
feathers that are suited for spey flies. Complete skins are reasonably
priced and offer the best selection.
Schlappen Hackle Feather
The downy barbs towards the base of the
stem have been stripped away.
SCHLAPPEN HACKLE FEATHERS
Schlappen feathers can have fairly long barbs and could be used for spey fly hackle on small or medium size spey flies, but they tend to be more clumpy when in the water.
To help achieve the desired effect of spey fly hackle, burning the
feathers with beach will prevent the barb hooklets from marrying
together, thus eliminating the clumpy effect associated with schlappen.
Also stripping the barbs from one side of the feather stem can help
create a better spey fly hackle effect.
MISCELLANEOUS SPY FLY FEATHERS
many exotic feathers and you can definitely find spey hackle
on more than one species of birds. Some high quality generic chicken
hackle can have some long, stiff barbs. Burning the barbs on a feather
as mentioned above, will help prevent them from marrying together.
A great article about spey fly hackle
Written by Ronn Lucas Sr and worth the time to read
Another great spey fly hackle article
Pair of basic hackle pliers
with non-skid jaws
There are people who never use hackle pliers but most fly tiers will have a pair and put them to good use.
OF A FEATHER
Detailed description of a feather.
General overview concerning the cleaning and
storage of feathers.
When buying complete bird skins, the skin should be stretched flat and scrapped clean of any residue.
available bird skins and feathers bought in a fly tying shop will be
clean and have uniform color when dyed. If acquiring bird skins and
feathers from other sources then precautions should to be taken to
avoid insects or other pests that could infest your fly tying supplies.
flytyinginstruction does not advertise or endorse individual brand
names. Any company names used or shown in any image are for reference
or in the case of photos would be what we had laying around and not
intended for promotional solicitation. We do not sell fly tying hackle
and this page is for information purpose only.