Just got Shewey's book on Spey and Dee flies, it's quite a good read with some very nice pictures. Does anyone out there tie with Bue Eared Pheasant? Willing to devulge supplier? Thanks! And thanks for the responses/insight regarding the windcutter question.
Quite a few places where you can get BEP, I'll bet Mark Bachman at http://flyfishusa.com is the best place to start. Unlike heron it's not illegal and does tie very nice Spey flies. You should note that the length of the barbules is very important to match to the hook size and overall dressing length, with the exception of low water flies which may use smaller feathers despite fairly large hook sizes.
You can get it dyed in various colors as well, black being a particular favorite of mine.
For small summer speys, try out the dyed mallard flank feathers. They are cheap, short, and easy and catch just as many fish albeit not as many fishermen.
The Deke's burnt spey hackles are brittle and have really thick stems but I use them in certain colors and smaller sizes (intermediate between mallard and BEP) with good luck. There is extra care involved in working these feathers due to their brittleness and you should not order them mail order because there is a radical variation between packages.
Let me know if you need more help finding it.
Yes I know that's a striper but it used to be a steelhead[/1]
You talking about the leeches I sent to Fred? I sent him a few different patterns, not sure WHICH leech I sent him that nailed for him. He's SUPPOSED to send me a digital pic of it. Hmmmmm, waiting to see which one he's talking about. I've sent out so many flies out the last few months (especially leeches) not sure which ones I sent to whom anymore. LOL
I have tied over 20,000 spey flies during the last 11 years and have found the following about proper spey feathers.
Heron is wonderful, if you can find it. Keep in mind that it is illegal to collect your own in the U.S. And if you happen to find some legal heron for sale, you will pay a very high price for it (around $2.00 to $3.00 a feather). this makes for some very expensive flies.
Blue eared pheasant is a very nice substitute, which I use a lot whjen heron is called for. Mark has it as do several other suppliers, such as Angler's Workshop and most of the fly shops in Washington state. One of my favorite spey feathers is schlappen. It comes in nearly any color you want (although the grey is not dark enough for a heron substitute), it is cheap (unlike blue eared pheasant which runs between $150.00 and $225.00 per skin most of the time), ties a beautiful spey fly (shck out the work by Gobin and Veverka to see how well it looks on a finished fly, and it is very close to the original spey feather of old.
Also, you can use coche feathers (rooster tail feathers) which are the original spey feather from the 1800's. these are also fairly easy to find and are not very expensive either.
Dyed chinese pheasant rumph makes an eacceptable substitute, but you can not tie larger than a size 5 Alec Jackson Spey Hook with most of the rumph feathers available. Yes, there are a few found at the end of the rumph that will tie a size 3 Alec Jackson Sepy Hook, but there are not many. Anything larger than an Alec Jackson Size 3 and your out of luck with chinese pheasant.
I would avoid any of the burnt goose spey feathers because of their brittelness,as has been mentioned by someone else. They can be used, but you have to soak them in hair conditioner or glicerin for a couple of hours to make the stem pliable. Althoughthe stem becomes pliable after this, there is still the problem of therather large stem.
The Whiting Spey Feathers are indeed very nice to tie with. however, keep in mind that they behave much differently than heron, blue eared pheasant, schlappen, coche feathers in water. They are much stiffer and considerable thinner. Also, they are difficult to find at this time because they have just become available to the market. This will improve over the next couple of years.
I've not tied nearly that many but agree with most of what is said above with the exception that I find schlappen far too webby for the Spey hackle effect I like to achieve.
I would imagine that if I were a production tyer I'd favor the dyed mallard flank feather, which is cheap, comes in a variety of colors, and has a very active tapered barbule that palmers easily with a good stem size and does not web together. It's curvature forms a very pleasing Spey hackle shape. It will cover summer Spey sizes / small winter sizes and I have caught a lot of steelhead on black heron speys and the like tied with mallard over the years.
As for using schlappen(a personal favorite) if you run the fibers between your finger nails you can break the zipper of the feather and it will not clump and you dont have to bother with the mess of bleaching, although you do get some interesting results from bleaching.
BTW John Sheweys stuff is top rate, and check for the hooks at M&Y in Vancouver myflyshop.com
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