Whether tying a Spey fly, an Atlantic Salmon fly, or a Wet fly, here is how I tie in
1. Find a matching pair (left and right) of Bronze Mallard feathers (similar color, length
of fibers, matching textures).
2. Select and cut left and right strips from the middle of the feather to nearer the bottom (a bit of the light grey showing). You'll have to experiment with the width of strips.
3. Match up the inside edges and 'marry' them, especially at the root. The straighter parts will be the inside edge so the pair of strips come to a sort of point. This will be the top of the roof/wing.
4. Grasp the married pair of strips with a thumb and forefinger at the root end and gently fold together till it resembles an 'upside down' boat. Make sure the strips stay tight and together on the top edge. To hump (curve) the 'boat', grasp it at both ends and move the ends closer together while moving each pair of fingers up and down.
5. With the thumb and forefinger still maintaining the boat shape, bring the strips to the top of the hook. A tiny bit of wax on the thread helps the next step. Bring the thread over the hook and carefully tighten the Bronze Mallard to the hook, making sure it stays centered and doesn't collapse. Rather, it should maintain it's shape on both sides, and stay together on top (a bit of saliva helps after tying in). This is by far one of the most challenging manuevers in fly tying. Thread control is the key. Practice is the advice.
- The inside edges shouldn't 'marry', but they do.
- Vary the angle for a more 'upright' or 'flatter' wing/roof
- An underwing (tippet, Turkey, etc.) makes for a nicer upright Bronze Mallard wing
- Practice, practice, practice