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Feathered Confusion

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I'm more than just a little confused about using feathers in fly tying for saltwater flies. I would sure like to draw upon this forums knowledge, wisdom and experience to point me in the right direction. I see the incredible flies many of you are showing here and the strung saddle hackle I purchased last winter to get started doesn't look like the right tool for the job. Since feathers are not inexpensive, I'd like to be sure I'm purchasing the right stuff.

 

The type of flies I'm interested in tying are mostly to use for striped bass on Cape Cod. I'm figuring I would need feathers for flies like Deceivers, Half and Halfs, Ray's flies (some tied flat wing style),and other flies like I'm seeing here on this forum.

 

For saltwater flies for the Northeast, am I best off with a saddle or a cape?.....Rooster or Hen?.....What grade do you find works the best for you?

 

I've been looking in The Benchside Introduction to Fly Tying and A.K. Best's Advanced Fly Tying and I'm still more than a little confused here. These are excellent books for learning about tying, but they seem to be geared to freshwater and I'm starting with saltwater. I could really use some help here.

 

Thanks. TIM

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If you are just getting into it I suggest you just get yourself a half dozen packs of "strung saddle hackles" in the most common colors; white, black, chartruece, etc.

 

When buying online look for "saltwater" grade saddles....its not a sure thing, but usually that will get you the type of feathers that you want for tying basic saltwater deceivers, 1/2 & 1/2's, etc.

 

If you have a shop nearby go and see what they have, and ask for assistance from the folks at the shop to select some good strung hackle.

 

Once you get the hang of things you will probably like the rest of us seek out more specialized feathers.....long, thin ones for flat wings or big patterns, short, webby ones for colars, etc. Then you can get into the necks and saddle patches. But for now I suggest you start with the strung stuff.

 

Good luck!

 

Alan

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The Whiting American Line Of Capes and saddles are a great place to start either the capes or saddles, they are reasonalbly priced, and have many good stiff feathers on them. The capes will give you a more variety of sizes than the saddles, but, all capes no matter what make will do that as well.

 

Hope this helps.

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Tidewaterfly,

 

I'm out in the country near Mt. Airy, which is between Frederick and Baltimore. I went to TieFest 2009 yesterday.....That was fun!...Were you there?

 

TIM

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OK, I know where Mt Airy is located. Yes, I was there for a few hours. Great event as always!

 

Did you get your question answered? If not, I can send you some info via PM that may help. smile.gif

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Tidewaterfly, if you have some pearls of wisdom that you would like to share, I'm sure interested in what you have discovered. Thanks.

 

TIM

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I believe that feathers especially saddle hackle are necessary to bring the fly to life! The reason I say that is when water is running over a saddle hackle it has the effect like a humans long straight hair, example;say you where tying a bucktail fly with saddle hackles in it. If you take a pair of matching hackles with the tips to the rear and flared outward away from the shank. You create action in that fly! While stripping your fly line back to you after the cast. As you are stripping the fly back in it has a darting effect("the saddles come together and spread apart when you stop") giving the fly action!headscratch.gifheadscratch.gifheadscratch.gif

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