Preferred hackle tie in method for Mahoney's - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Question Preferred hackle tie in method for Mahoney's

In John Shewey's book Spey Flies & Dee Flies he says you can tie in your body hackle by either the butt end or the tip end to get a different look to the fly. On Mahoney's you use Schlappen stripped on one side. I tied the hackle in on these 2 flies differently (the first fly by the butt and the second one by the tip). Just wondering which is the preferred method by most of the tyers on Spey Pages??

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 04:42 PM
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For what it is worth I tie from the tip. I think both work and the fish may not be very obsessive.
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Last edited by reely; 05-15-2019 at 04:44 PM. Reason: added
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 05:15 PM
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Nice flies Fish Tech I tied a green/olive one the other day for the first time on a size 6 hook, wanted something small and compact so tied the tip in first, hope to fish it next week.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 05:27 PM
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By the butt end

Schlappen really lends itself to being tied in by the butt end. That gives it a very full, and old school, look.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 05:37 PM
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I tied some by the butt this past winter, just playing with variation from what I'd done in the past. On a whim I shot some video and was really pleased with the volume and movement of the hackle with the longer hackle in the back. I'll be tying them that way from now on.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 09:40 PM
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I like to tie in schlappen and Rooster Coque butt end first with one side stripped off (depending on which way the hackle is wrapped). The rooster coque tends to have some longer fibers towards the tip though, and I can get away with tying tip first on smaller hooks, maintaining the longer look, without as much stem bulk along the body. The half-bronze and speckled/badger-esque coque feathers can have some pretty different looks depending on which way you tie them in.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 01:14 AM
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Davie McPhail ties all his Spey hackles Iím by the tip as far as I can tell. His flies are mainly for fishing and not for show although his show salmon flies are beautiful.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 04:59 AM
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I tie in by the tip because its easier to use the stem to wrap with!
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies! Looks like opinions are evenly split over which way is preferred. The "Mahoney" pattern was designed by Dec Hogan and the illustrated fly shown in his book A Passion for Steelhead looks like he tied the hackle in by the butt end so I guess I will go with that method.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 07:56 AM
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I tie in my body hackles by the tip end.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 08:00 AM
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For this style of fly, I strip one side and tie-in from the butt, much like a traditional spey fly.
The key is to look for the thin stems. It also helps to soak your hackles in Woolite and warm water for a few hours. I use the "Baby Woolite" and find the best results. Another product is hair conditioner and again, warm water. This step really helps for those stiff or brittle stems that occur when gone through the dying process or stored in a very dry environment. You just need to restore some of the moisture. Do not use the hair dyer to quicken the process, that will just dry things out again. I pre-do my hackles. When I get a fresh batch in, I sort through them to size and quality. Then make a bath of Woolite and let them soak for a few hours. I then pull them out, shake them off and finish drying them on a towel. The results are like night and day. A very soft, easy wrapping stem with never any splitting.

I also prefer the longer profile associated with starting from the butt of the feather. My preference is to source a feather with a thin stem and has the "fluff" on it. Like adding a bit of marabou wiggle to the spey fly


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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 10:13 AM
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For this style of fly, I always strip one side of the schlappen and tie in by the butt. As the others in this thread have stated, I like the longer/fuller profile it gives the fly. The only time I tie in schlappen by the tip is when I use it as a collar hackle.

Great ties by the way!

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 01:35 PM
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Both great ties FT. I like the top(butt tied) for Atlantics and bottom (tip tie) for steelhead. I seldom get great hackle so I tend to tie in the tip.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 04:53 PM
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Here are the hackling instructions for the Mahony (correct spelling) from our book Steelhead Fly Tying Art and Design. As you can see Dec secures the hackle by the root/butt end.

Step 4. Select a black schlappen hackle with barbules of sufficient length—sufficient meaning as long as you can find! Clear all the fluff and unusable barbs from the stem. Strip the barbs from the right side of the feather. Moisten the barbs and work the feather until the barbs disengage and no longer hold together. Secure the schlappen hackle by the stem on the back side of the hook. The “good” or convex side should be facing you.

Without the photo the instructions are incomplete. Will have to do better on the next publication.

Traditionally speaking the hackle for this style of fly is tied in tip first at the eye of the hook, then palmered to the bend of the hook. The oval tinsel, which was secured in at the bend of the hook is them wrapped forward trapping the stem of the hackle to the hook. The hackle having been counter wrapped is now secured with multiple turns of ribbing. In more modern times the standard Woolly Worm was tied using this same hackling technique, were as the Woolly Bugger is hackle tip first from the bend of the hook. For most of my steelhead work I use the tip of the hackle secured in at the bend. I never really got into the spey style of tying.

Here are some more of the instructions for the Mahony and a shot of the completed fly. Dec uses a little muscle to tame his body hackles.

Step 10. Wrap the schlappen hackle forward, following the rearward edge of the oval tinsel. The barbs of the hackle should be flowing toward the bend of the hook. If the barbs are coming out at right angles and even slightly forward, don’t worry. The next step explains how to fix that.

Step 11. With your left hand, pull all the barbs rearward. With your right hand, give the hackle stem a good pinch. This will lock the barbs into position and flowing back toward the bend.

Step 12. This photo shows the completed body with the hackle in proper position after the pinching technique.

As you well know Dec has a lot of confidence in this style of fly. Good reason, it works. The only issue is finding the hackle. We went through 6 packs of schlappen to find the feather for this step by step. Dec's preferred hook for this fly is Alec Jackson's 1.5. Finding hackle for the smaller hooks is not a problem, 1.5s and 3/0s is a problem. We go over all the different hackling techniques in the book. We have a few copies left, you can find it in all the fine fly shops or on our web site, (sorry for the shameless plug). I got to meet Jerry Mahony a few weeks back up on the Skagit. It was fun to hear his stories of fishing the Skagit and Sauk back in the day. Great to be able to connect a face with Dec's red spey style creation.

Old step by step for the Blue Butt Black Mahogan
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Last edited by Marty; 05-20-2019 at 05:50 PM. Reason: misspelled Mahony
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! Thank you Marty for these detailed instructions and photos!
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