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Hackle Feather Orientation?

Hackle Feather Orientation?  

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29 minutes ago, SilverCreek said:

Here's the deal.

Hackle fibers have a natural bend. The shiny size is convex and the dull side is concave.

Back when there was no genetic hackle and dry flies were tied with necks from India or China, the dry fly hackle was not very stiff.

If the dry fly was wound with shiny convex side forward the hackle fibers natural bend is back towards the rear of the fly. When the dry fly was cast, the more flexible non genetic hackle fibers would be bent even further back and the hackle would be angled back and the tips angled on the water surface.

So the common practice with to tie the hackle in dull side forward. This resulted in the natural bend of the hackle facing forward. Then when the dry fly was cast, the hackle fibers were forced back which made them more perpendicular to the water surface rather than less perpendicular.

Nice explanation, thanks. Now, we need to know how it changes the way the fly is presented and floats. You would think perpendicular hackle fibers would be proper but what's better? Does it matter? If it does matter, is it enough to out-way easier tying when fibers are curved back?

Another thing to consider is, if I can tie an all-round better fly with the fibers curled back, will the fly fish better than if I tied a not so good fly with the fibers curled forward? Or, are we splitting hairs?

If the fly floated twice as long, I guess it's worth it. Might have to do some testing.

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In addition to Silver Creek's excellent points, I always thought the tilted back hackles (shiny side front) resulted in the flies having a tendency to stand on their heads. I still tie with the concave side towards the hook eye except on wets, then I want the fibers to curve back over the fly. Never considered that improved feathers made that different, now I have to try some the backwards way, and see how I like them!

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In Frederic Halford's 1886 book Floating Flies and How to Dress Them, it's the shiny side forward. I guess that was a little bit before genetic hackle was available 😉

floatingflieshow00halfrich_0057.thumb.jpg.4a2fb5d742b4777e959ca24d1a99603a.jpg

floatingflieshow00halfrich_0058.jpg.14a1fe15e36102d0bd92f27da4153870.jpg

 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, mvendon said:

In Frederic Halford's 1886 book Floating Flies and How to Dress Them, it's the shiny side forward. I guess that was a little bit before genetic hackle was available 😉

 

Many of the Catskill tyers tied shiny side forward as well.

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22 hours ago, SilverCreek said:

Here's the deal.

Hackle fibers have a natural bend. The shiny size is convex and the dull side is concave.

Back when there was no genetic hackle and dry flies were tied with necks from India or China, the dry fly hackle was not very stiff.

If the dry fly was wound with shiny convex side forward the hackle fibers natural bend is back towards the rear of the fly. When the dry fly was cast, the more flexible non genetic hackle fibers would be bent even further back and the hackle would be angled back and the tips angled on the water surface.

So the common practice with to tie the hackle in dull side forward. This resulted in the natural bend of the hackle facing forward. Then when the dry fly was cast, the hackle fibers were forced back which made them more perpendicular to the water surface rather than less perpendicular.

Yep

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Interesting, and I can remember when the hackle we had to work with was garbage compared to what we have available today. In my opinion today's genetic hackles allow for the feather to be tied in either way...simply because they are so close to perfectly flat and perpendicular to the center quill (rachis) as well as stiff, it becomes a moot point and one of personal preference. When I tie my hackle in I no longer bother to look which way is which...except for soft hackle wet flies.

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