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I am new to tying spey flies (but not fly tying). That being said I am having difficulties with Whitings spey hackle (bronze grade). I find it very sparse and very time consuming to tie with. I find that I have to find 2 or 3 matching lengths, clamp them together with my hackle pliers, fold over to 1 side and then tie in. Sometimes I have breakage and it is generally laboursome. Any time I find myself having a great deal of difficulty with something it often turns out that I am doing something wrong.

I have never tied with BEP and have used schlappen. I find that schlappen will only tie small flies and really doesn't work out the way I would like.

Is BEP that much better? Should I have purchsed gold grade? Is BEP the best way?

I apprecriate any and all suggestions.

Regards,

David
 

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Not a fan of the Whiting spey hackle. I've only found a few real usable feathers on each skin.

Yes, BEP is that much better. The larger sizes tend to collapse in the water and some of the smaller sizes are fairly stiff so look before you buy. Short of having real heron it's about as close as you can get.

Some folks are using Rhea but I have yet to figure that one out. I find the stem impossible to deal with but the fibres look pretty good. Maybe someone could clue me in on this one.

-Chris
 

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Do a search on Whiting Hackle. Some love it and some hate it.

Personally I use it on most of my patterns not just Spey/Dee style. Part of the problem might be the Bronze grade although the newer Bronze is as good as the Silver from a couple of years ago. You do need to use two, three and sometimes four feathers on large hooks depending on how full you want your dressing but that is not any problem to do.
 

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Jack Cook
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Yep

I use Rhea or Blue Eared Pheasant Tail when I am doinf HUGE flies.

Blue Eared feathers work good if they are from birds 5+ years old. As they get older the fibers get stiffer and have much more action in the water. They also get that beautiful blue color over the grey. It is very hard to find that quality of BEP but I finally have a consistent source. I even have JUMBOs which are 5+ inch fibers. Hold on to your wallet but when you need big they are there. The XL and L will do 3/0 flies easy for a lot less $.

Day in and day out I use rooster side tails. The stuff I have is way bigger than Schlappen, no web, small stems and looks great in the water. It is also not very expensive and comes in a lot of sizes.

If you need a sample just email [email protected] at The Irish Angler.
 

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Swarner's Flies
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I enjoy the whiting hackles. They are much better than when they first came out and they still don't have a gold grade yet.

The first "batch" that came out a few years ago sucked. They are basically what is called "bird fur" now.

Currently I have purchased the silver grade capes and not the saddles. I have been pleased with every one so far. I have about 6 different colors.

No problems with breakage since I tie it in by the butt and not the tip. the tip is so thin that 3-4 extra turns at the head is possible with minimal bulk. If I want a heavier hackled fly I use two. One at the rear and one at the front.

Are they anything like BEP. No, but why should they be, they are different. So are pheasants and chickens. I don't think of it as a substitute for the real thing or BEP, its another material that adds diversity to my repotoire (spelling?). Sort of like a painter using a different type of paint.

I fish east coast and the waters I fish don't have glaciel flow or heavy/extreme power (some do as far as power but not many) and I would assume they are bit clearer as well. The finer hackle may be better than the bep in these conditions.

Frank
 

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Wilson
With rhea you need to soak the feather overnight and strip the fibres from the quill, with practice the fibres come off on a piece of membrane that is easy to trim to a narrow strip with scizzors. I find the smaller rhea with fibres in the 1 to 3 inch length to make a great spey on single hooks - the longer stuff I use on tubes & waddingtons for intruder type flies.
speydoc
 
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