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Doubling hackles

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:31 pm    Post subject: Doubling hackles Reply with quote

Doubling hackles - by Alan Bithell

There are various ways to double a hackle. I like to do it with my fingers on the hook. It is then part of the tying process, because of that it takes no extra time.
Also, most importantly for you, it lets you lay the hackle in the position you want it.

Draw the fibers from both sides of the hackle stem back into the position you want them to lie in and lay the stem onto the hook shank, while still holding the fibers.

I use this method for all my wet fly hackles, even N.C. spiders. To the extent that when I am teaching it is difficult for me not to double a feather.

There are other things that you can do to reduce the head size. When you start the fly do not start right behind the eye. Leave a gap equal to 1 to 1 1/2 times the size of the eye. Like this

Also you can undo some wraps when they have served their purpose. For example if you start either a floss body or tinsel body behind the eye you may use 6 or 8 turns of thread to bind the body material down. Count them as you put them on. Then wind the body. When you get back to the starting point hold the material under tension and count off the turns you put on at the start of the body. Take two turns over the tag end of the material to secure it. There you have a body securely tied in with just two turns of thread at the head. You have saved a lot of bulk at the head end of the fly. This also worked when winding a palmered hackle if the hackle is secured by winding the rib through it.

One way to reduce the size of the head further is to use finer thread. I always use the finest thread I can down to about 12/0. The thread I spool myself is stronger than any standard commercial thread. (Not Kevlar, Power Silk or Gel Spun. ) So I can tighten down on the materials quite a lot Also a thread that flattens out is a good idea. Un spin the bobbin before forming the head.

You should be able to make much smaller heads now.

There are probably other tips for getting small heads but these are the ones I find useful

Fish SKB - The Very Best Fly Fishing Tackle and Fishing Flies
Casting At Shadows - New Zealand and Christmas Island DVDs
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