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Grandpa Howard
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I have always been a big fan of feather winged flies and after this last trip to the coast even more so. Great movement, superb sink rate and the profile retains it’s mass. This purple fly is a variation of my First Light Feather Wing. I substituted hot pink G.P. tippet for the tail and used lavender Guinea for the collar. I first started using this style of fly in smaller sizes on the Deschutes for summer-run fish. I gained so much confidence in the pattern, I started tying orange and pink combos on 3/0’s for winter fish. Early on I shied away from tying feather winged flies. It was a struggle and no matter what I tried, the wing looked awful. I could set a strip wing, hair wing, and married wing without difficulty, but the feather wing remained a mystery. To my good fortune, my brother-in-law had it mastered and with a little guidance, the light turned on. I learned having the right type of neck and selecting a matching pair from each side of the neck was the key. With the right neck the feather should have a natural curve already set in the stem. There are ways to bend the stem, if needed, a hair dryer gets the job done quickly. Dec ties his Mahoney, which is a feather wing, on our DVD. I don’t want it to sound like an infomercial, but watching Dec is how I learned. I have a few copies sitting around if interested. Have fun with this one and thanks for looking.

First Light Feather Wing (variation)



Hook: Alec Jackson 3 – 3/0
Tip: Small oval silver tinsel
Tag: Purple floss
Tail: Hot pink tippet
Rib: Pearl Mylar tinsel
Body: Purple seal, or sub
Collar: Purple schlappen with a few turn of lavender guinea
Wing: Four dyed purple grizzle hackles.

Start the tying thread at the bend of the hook. Secure in a length of oval tinsel. Wrap the tying thread down the bend, trapping the tinsel as you go. Stop wrapping when the tying thread hangs in line with the midpoint, between the point of the hook and the barb. Take three turns with the tinsel and secure. Wrap the tying thread back to the start. Make sure your thread work is consistent; it will be the underbody for the floss. Secure in a length of floss and wrap it to the tip and back to the tie in point. Prepare the tippet for the tail and secure.



Secure in a length of Mylar for the rib and build a dubbing loop with the tying thread. Load the loop with dubbing and give it a spin. Wrap the tying thread to the eye of the hook.



Bring the dubbing forward followed by five open wraps with the Mylar.



Secure in a schlappen hackle and wrap as a collar. Follow the schlappen with a few turn of guinea.



Select four hackle tips, two from each side of the neck. Gauge the hackles to length and strip the excess from the stems. With all four hackle tips pinched together in your right hand, insert the hackle stems through the eye of the hook. Take a few firm securing wraps with the tying thread. With the wing firmly secured to the hook check your work. Pull the stems back on the underside of the hook and secure. Whip finish and cement.



Here is a shot looking straight on.



Good tying and better fishing.


 

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Just awesome

I am going to have to give this a whirl. Great step by step and wonderful pictures. Looks like a real beauty!
 

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Noice!!! Love hackle tip winged flies and thats a killer!!!
Also maybe a step by step on how you do your photos some time Marty, I'm sure a lot of people would love it. And maybe some more info on how you shape the hackles with a hair dryer, I have lots of feathers but most dont have that shape or cant find pairs. Thanks for all the step by steps over the years I have learned a ton from them!!
 

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Oooooh PURPLE! Steelhead hate purple, seem to always want to eat purple things.
 

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Very nice. I gave up on feather wings untill i came across "strung neck hackle" or something. Now like to tie em again haha
 

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Dom
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3,156 Posts
Thank you for this step by step Marty!

I hope my $35 Whiting capes are ok to use... I think their stems are a bit thicker than Chinese capes. Haven't tied much of featherwings yet but I will in near future. I find it very difficult to master the wing setting on these flies. I use scissor edge scrapping method under tied in feather to put a bend to it but would love to hear about the hair dryer method myself.
 
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