Setting hackle tips on Feather Wing "spey" flies always seems to be a challenge, and the tutorial provided by Nickels should be of great help to tiers having trouble with this.
I noticed this sentence in a follow up post further down from flytie09.... I think it's incredibly important as well:
The tie in point I try to insure doesn't have a big step where I stopped the throat hackle.
This sentence is important as it points out that getting the the wing set to work properly depends upon how the body and hackle
of the fly are completed....The importance of this is not often recognized by tiers who are more familiar with contemporary flies.
If there is a "step up" or "ramp" that the feather wings must pass up over, then the wing is going to point straight up and drive the tier nuts! The key to avoiding this problem is by making sure that there is NOT a "shoulder" of dubbing and hackle just behind (and underneath) the wing. This is very different than the way many conventional tube, intruder, etc style flies are tied, where such a shoulder is an important aspect to the design of those flies, and crucial to their action.
When tying the body of a Feather Wing, it is helpful to REDUCE the amount of dubbing used towards the front of the fly. The body shoud be really sparse just behind where the collar will be. Then a duck flank hackle, or guinea hackle, with a relatively THIN stem should be chosen for the collar, so that the stem is not too thick at the tie in point. If the stem is thick, it can create that dreaded "ramp" behind the wing tie in point, and lift the wing.
Duck flank and guinea are fairly stiff and, when hackled at the front of a spey fly, provide a slight "push' in the current that creates enough of a vortex to activate, the wispy body hackles (usually heron, or webby hackle like schlappen). This gives the action to the fly....not a big shoulder like in an intruder.
Thanks for your helpful post Nickels