View Full Version : Twisted leaders using saddle hackles

05-06-2011, 11:26 AM
I tied up some Royal Trudes using saddle hackles this winter with quite a few turns of the hackle for use with droppers or heavy water.They were twisting the leader like crazy and I remembered a tying video or article by AK Best where he mentions this happening a lot with saddle hackles when used to make bushy flies.

I tied a few more using the same hackles but instead of winding nesting turns to the tie off I crossed the hackle over itself like he does and it makes some of the fibers splay out in different directions and negates the "turbine effect"he describes.

No more twisted leaders.

Thought this might save some folks from wasting some of those beautiful expensive Whiting hackles like I did.

No Hackle
05-07-2011, 09:55 AM
Good tip. If you think about it makes alot of sense. Thanks for sharing.

05-07-2011, 05:56 PM
I used to have a lot of problems with this also. Coming forward off the head of a trude or stimi, there is a tendency to have a narrower thorax and head area. This "slant" may cause some of the twisting. I tie most of my hackle stems facing FORWARD bulking up the thorax. For my Western flies where I want at times an extremely thick hackle. I will wind my saddles backwards then wind forward and tie off the head as normal. I ,then, wind a rib of tying thread to reinforce it(Important).

Also, Saddles are NOT consistantly the same size throughout the feather either. A # 14 feather you start with may drop to a #16 in the middle when you tie it off.

I am also a heretic, I use still Indian and Chinese necks when I can. I tie my larger attactor flies Humpies, Wulffs etc, with them.

05-07-2011, 10:36 PM
KTB those expensive Whiting saddle feathers have the same barb length all the way down the hackle.I hate the look of hackle collars that are larger in diameter at the rear tapering to a smaller dia at the head of the fly and always tie the hackle in first and the dub the thorax forward over the stem of the hackle ensuring the thorax is the same dia so it will not cause the hackles to be cone shaped.

I never got twisted leaders when using Metz necks and Hoffman saddles.

05-08-2011, 09:29 AM
I am also a heretic, I use still Indian and Chinese necks when I can. I tie my larger attactor flies Humpies, Wulffs etc, with them.

Randall, I'm interested in the fact that you often use these. I use chinese necks pretty regularly for tails, but always find them too long for hackles on size 12 and smaller. Is there a certain brand you look for, or something else I should know?

05-24-2011, 02:16 PM
Granny- posting from the library in Cody, Wyo. waiting to pick up my FS campground keys. (Can't rub it in though, you'll probably be fishing before me, lots of rain and snow here(:<).

I go back to the days of buying neck hackle feathers from Herter's by the ounce. My best friend's dad actually raised chickens for tying purposes. I've been in several shops lately where the shelves with saddles were bare and the genetic necks gone up in price. I always carry a hackle guage with me when in a flyshop. I pick up a lot of "generic" Indian and Chinese for larger attractor type patterns. I walked out of Jacklin's in West Yellowstone with a dozen "variant" necks last June at $3-$5 each. They were loose in a box. I may use two or three for a #10-14 hackle. I'll pair a stiffer- higher grade hackle with a flimmier when tying, say an Adams. Get same coloration to hackle. Some folks used to actually trim hackle to size before tying on. (I've tried it but was not satisfied with results.)

I am rationing my better hackles for those patterns where they are needed. Art Flick and the others of that era didn't have the wonderful genetic we have available but caught fish. AK Best actually recommends using tyer grade necks, I've used Keough necks and are satisfied with them