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seaterspey
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to be fishing some different rivers and want to tie some smaller hair wings, sizes in the 4 to 6 range and to be honest I've been so involved in Spey and Dee's that I have never tied these things!

So questions;

Any good books that you can offer up would be of great help.

What types of hair do you commonly use?

How long does the hair extend?

I guess any tying tips that you experts may have would be of great value to this rookie.

Thanks in advance.

KC
 

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My favorite hairwing how-to book is the one written by Keith Fulsher and Charlie Krom, "Hair-Wing Atlantic Salmon Flies."

Hair...I use black bear, squirrel tail, bucktail, moose body hair, various foxes, etc.

Most of the time, I let the hair extend to the bend of the hook (or just past).

 

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Not a pro by any means but here is my 2 cents... with my hair-wings I try to use either Squirrel Tail or Arctic Fox Under Fur. I really like the under fur on arctic for because it's very light, easy to tie with and lays nicely.

As for the length I typically tie the wing to go right to about where the hook point is or where the barb is, somewhere in that ball park. It seems to allow the fly to ride true when swinging.

Also, a thing to note is to go more sparse than you would think. if you have to much material in the wing the fly wont ride as nicely in the water.

Hope that helps out some...

A few for reference....



Tom
 

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Flies

I agree with Pork, especially about the instruction book. That book is still a classic.

The book, however, was written before there were some new hooks and a lot of new fly tying material available. My favorite double hooks are the Partridge Salar (but NOT singles) and Partridge Ps. My favorite single hooks are the Partridge Bartleet (either one) and the Daiichi 2059 and 2061 up eye or straight eye versions).

As far as tying material is concerned, I still use mostly bear hair, but for colored fibers use badger, cashmere goat, arctic fox, etc. etc. etc.
 

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I really like black bear as a winging material. Generally I like my wings to extend to the barb, or thereabouts. I like the short look.....but often get it a bit too long.

Mind you, I don't think the fish care that much.
 

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+3 for the Fulsher and Krom book. Here's a post from my blog that features a lot of their flies, so you can see what "classic" hairwing proportions look like:
http://theriverscourse.blogspot.com/2014/03/fulsher-krom-and-warren.html

And a batch of mine (I was mentored by Keith and Charlie, as well as Bob Warren):
http://theriverscourse.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-winters-work-flies.html

Here's a SBS on how I tie my Celtic Beauty, which might be of some help to you:
http://theriverscourse.blogspot.com/2013/02/tying-celtic-beauty.html

These days, I tie my hairwings mainly on Gamakatsu T10-6H's. I think many tyers tie WAY too much hair into their wings. And be sure to put a drop of head cement at the wing tie-in point just after you tie the wing down and before final wrapping. That method holds doubly true with squirrel tail.

Have fun!
Gary
 

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Something I found from watching a video on the fall fav. is tying the hair on forward of the eye and then back sets it better and makes a cleaner wing IMHO or one I like the looks of more at least..I went down to #8 tread to keep the head a bit smaller and it seems to hold the hair down better as my squirrel tail pulled out easily doing the conventional method..
 

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Dec Hogan and Marty Howard's video is the best!

"Steelhead Flys - Tying Classics" by Dec and Marty is a fabulous reference for how to tie hair wing flies. They show a few different ways to tie a hair wing fly. Depending on the material and the pattern, you may chose different methods. John Shewey's "Steelhead Flies" is also a great reference for tying hair wing flies. The above two resources, plus tips gleaned from this website, have really, really improved my tying.

Mark
 

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I have some of Gary Tanner's flies and have seen a collection of about 30 for Bob Richard. I have to tell you that Gary knows how to tie hair wings! My comment to Gary was "Less seems to be better". He certainly knows how to tie in a seductive manner to suggest color and outline. Gary ties not only fishing flies, but flies for presentation as well.

Doug
 

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Notice how the hair wings in the photos from the excellent hair wing tyers have the wing end a bit before the end of the tail? This is something that every very good to excellent hair wing salmon or steelhead fly tyer I've ever seen (or saw his flies) does.

Gary's flies are superb (even though he doesn't think so) and great examples for proportions and amount of material to use. Sparse is better than heavily dressed both for hackle and the wing.

Truthfully, any hair that is long enough can be used for the wing on a hair wing wet, you just have to remember to keep it pretty sparse if you use bucktail, bear, or calftail. Also, I never stack the hair I use on a hair wing because stacking the hair creates a "paint brush" effect that I don't like. I simply even up the hair in my fingers to the degree possible and tie it in. Doing it this way (without stacking) creates a nicely tapered wing that is nicely tapered and streamlined.

And if you tied in different colors of hair, it is possible to tie a hair wing, mixed-wing salmon fly, just use a wisp of hair for each color and stack the colors one on top of the other and tie in each wisp of hair with not more than 2 turns of thread to keep bulk down.

Another think I do with my hair wings is I always use a fully wrapped hackle, never a beard hackle. The fully wound hackle produces a very different, three-dimensional, and more subtle action when fished than a beard hackle. And I also tie half of my wing in and clip the butts before I tie-in and wrap my collar hackle. Then I tie in the other half of my wing after the hackle is wrapped and tied-off. This produces a much neater, smaller head, more durable fly with less bulk in the wing, and also helps the wing "work" and "move' a bit more when fished.


Oh yeah, I never use rayon chenille on my hair wings. If I want chenille, I use Alec Jackson's method of producing a chenille from a piece of oval tinsel and Ostrich or Peacock herl (dyed or natural) because it doesn't go dead in the water like rayon chenille does. The chenille produces by Alec's method means it takes a little longer to tie the fly, but the fly swims much more seductively.
My favorite hair for hair wings is Fox. For white wings I use white Artic Fox, for most dyed wings, I like Artic Fox dyed to the color I want. However, other fox species make extremely nice wings too. Instead of grey squirrel, I prefer to use Grey Fox because it is a bit crinkly, longer in fiber, has more distinct barring, and when 1/2 of the underfur is combed out, it produces a wing that is denser near the front of the hook that naturally because much less dense (this helps enhance the streamlined look, especially when wet) out near the tips of the wing.

If you want a translucent hair, you can't beat polar bear, unfortunately, polar bear is illegal in the USA unless you can prove it was brought into the lower 48 prior to January 1 1972, or have a US Fish and Wildlife permit (or certified copy) granting permission to have the hide the hair was taken from brought into the USA. Otherwise, you are opening yourself to a huge fine with possible prison time in a federal prison along with a federal felony. Definitely not worth the risk.

However, a decent substitute for polar bear is Mountain Goat hair. The downside is that this hair is not easy to find, is not stocked by fly shops because of the difficulty in finding it, and pretty much has to be procured from someone who has killed one hunting that is willing to sell or give you a piece of the hide, that he is most likely going to have mounted as a trophy because they aren't a lot of Mountain Goat permits given out in any given year.
 

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Hairwings....

Kudos and bravo!!! To all the contributors on this one a huge appreciation for some much needed inspiration to reacquaint myself with hairwings ....
Thanks,

Tom
 

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seaterspey
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The information given has been outstanding! I truly appreciate all the support and will get busy tying.

Thank you for your help!:)
 

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I've attached photos of a range of flies that I've used successfully from the Gaspe to northern Labrador. They exhbit a range of wing lengths and materials. You might also look at the Restigouche River Lodge's website, and under "Lodge Flies", peruse Scott Doncaster's hairwings. They are outstanding.

#1 Hair Hackle Black Cosseboom (Moose)


#2 Dee Sheep (Monga Ringtail and Black Bear)


#3 Humber Green (Grey Squirrel)


#4 Green Highlander (Pine Squirrel and Bucktail)


#5 John Olin (Arctic Fox)


#6 Bonaventure Black & Green (Finn Racoon)
 
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