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wing materials

1217 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  flytyer
I've observed that a large percentage of flies tied on singles, have the wing made from folded or married wings, this is a more traditional method from bygone,
My question is why do you still ty wings with these materials instead of artic Fox materials,or squirrel etc,
From the other side of the Alantic and beyond, I don't think anyone ties flies using this method ,instead using materials that offer the most mobility
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There are those that still tie such featherwing flies on both sides of the Atlantic ;)

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Because they are:


And most of all they work!
There's always one lol.
A few more than one....

Have a look at The Classic Salmon and Seatrout Fly Compendium by Barry Grewcock and David Carne

Not to mention the dozens of superb Scandinavian fly tyers...


Because some of us don't like hair wings and feel hackle tip wings have far superior movement.
And contrary to the popular belief/myth that was perpetrated by folks such as the late Col. Bates and his friend Lee Wulff (among others, but these were the most widely read and the ones who probably had the most influence) that featherwings are "still and lifeless when fished", but hairwings are "full of movement from the slightest current", featherwings are not stiff and lifeless when fished. Quite the contrary, featherwings have a very enticing quivering, swaying, undulating movement to the wings when fished on a swing. Remember, flies aren't fished in air or in a frame or display case, they are fished in the river on a tight line.

However, it is undisputable that hairwings are a lot easier to tie since you only need to lash a cylinder of hair on the hook and don't have to worry about setting it properly (either vertically, tented, or split - think dee wing) on the hook. Heck, I teach how to tie a hairwing wet in the second lesson of a beginning fly tying class, I'd never consider trying to teach a featherwing wet in a beginning fly tying class. And when it comes to properly setting bronze mallard, dee wings, or married wings, there is no dispute on the increased level of skill and technique over hairwings.

Thus, it takes more technique and thread control to tie a featherwing properly. And this higher level of tying technique shows itself in higher prices for featherwings, unless you tie them yourself. Therefore, it is not surprising to me that hairwings have eclipsed featherwings in popularity.
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