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Thread: Wooly Bugger Hackle Question

  1. #1
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    Default Wooly Bugger Hackle Question

    I was recently tying up some high-vis bugger patterns for off color water and all I had around for hackle was some grizzly hackle intended for dry flies. Most of what I've read indicates webbier feathers are far more ideal for buggers being that they have a bit more movement in the water but the flies I tied up with the stiffer dry fly hackle seemed to perform surprisingly well.

    This got me wondering, is there any benefit to using a stiffer hackled feather in streamer patterns or would I just be doing myself a disservice by not going with a more webby feather that is truly intended for palmering on a bugger? Also where do you guys prefer to order your hackle from? (No good local options where I'm at)

  2. #2
    Member AKducks's Avatar
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    I think it would be much better to go buy saddle hackle. I don't think the grizzly hackle will give you the fly you want. plus dry fly hackle is expensive, I would rather use that stuff for Griffith Gnats.

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    Member FairbanksFlies's Avatar
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    For wet flies and buggers, the cheap saddles at sportsman's warehouse will work fine. It seems like you'd have more trouble finding quality dry fly hackles around here. Maybe one day I'll open my fly shop...

  4. #4

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    I prefer to use schlapen for my wooly buggers

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    The dry fly hackle seems to produce a decent side profile but it definitely doesn't have the desired movement. Id say your dead on, would hate to use all that grizzly hackle only to find out i need it for some dry flies!

    [img]https://m.imgur.com/9bSc3hD[/img]

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    Quote Originally Posted by FairbanksFlies View Post
    For wet flies and buggers, the cheap saddles at sportsman's warehouse will work fine. It seems like you'd have more trouble finding quality dry fly hackles around here. Maybe one day I'll open my fly shop...
    If you did I can guarantee you i'd be stopping in on a regular basis!

    Thank you for the heads up on the hackle at sportsman's, I always look at theirs and Big Rays when I stop in but I don't have much experience grading hackle so i'm usually unsure of whether on not it was worth purchasing but after hearing your endorsement I'll be a bit less timid next time I stop through!

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    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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  8. #8

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    I'm an addict for "streamer" rooster necks for buggers. The feathers are arranged by size and cover the full span of bugger sizes. They're soft like saddles, but plenty long for easy tying. Not as expensive as other necks either. Good array of colors and a good price from this source, but one of many when you start looking around. You can also find examples in grizzly, brown and other natural colors, but you have to look for them and they're usually more expensive. But still a great buy and handy when you're tying a bunch of different sizes.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  9. #9

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    These guys are right. Save your dry fly hackle for its intended use. Strung saddle hackle and strung schlappen are cheap alternatives to whole saddles or necks. The resulting flies may not win any beauty contests, but if how a fly looks to the fisherman mattered that much, we'd never have to replace a fly destroyed by the 15th or 20th fish it caught. We'd have to replace it after the 4th or 5th fish.

    I've never noticed any difference in the effectiveness of pretty flies over ugly ducklings. What I have noticed is the increased effectiveness of UV treated materials like the Spirit River line of tying materials. These are available at Sportsmans Warehouse among other shops.

    FWIW, except for branded genetic hackle (Whiting, Metz, etc), the vast majority of commonly available feathers, hairs and furs, wire, dubbing, etc. comes from Wapsi Fly in Arkansas, so there is essentially no difference in what you buy from supplier to supplier. A Chinese neck from fly shop A is the same as the same color neck from fly shop B. Customer service is the most important consideration for me.

  10. #10

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    One useful bit of advice, though I hate to share it and cut my own odds.

    If you travel to places far from Alaska, be sure to stop into shops and check their bargain bins. You'll often find "Alaska" materials at bargain prices simply because they don't sell well locally. If you're going to saltwater country, do the same there to check for "trout" supplies at discount. Along the same lines, wander around the web and visit sites in far away places for their own bargain offerings. For example, I just received an order from trout country where I found tube fly components for half price. Dunno why they ordered them into their shop in the first place, but I was more than happy to take them off their hands for half price.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  11. #11
    Member AKducks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akroper View Post
    ... What I have noticed is the increased effectiveness of UV treated materials like the Spirit River line of tying materials. These are available at Sportsmans Warehouse among other shops...
    talked to the fly Shop owner in Yakutat a few years ago. He found that best flies he sold (based off what customers told him) were UV treated. He even had a fly that he would get mixed results on whether people liked it our not, show he shown the UV light over it and half the flies lit up (UV treated) and half didn't. Really sold me on buying UV treated as much as possible.

  12. #12

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    Gotta admit that I'm not real sold on the advantage of UV. I base that on pretty serious testing, letting the fish decide without a UV light. I fished identical flies, one UV and one not, in tandem and let the fish choose between them. Multiple species, multiple settings and multiple patterns. If the UV made a difference I sure couldn't spot it, because the fish didn't seem to discriminate between the two. Maybe I should have kept trying, but I finally just gave up.

    These days I don't turn down UV treated materials if I find it at the same or better price than non-UV. I just buy the color I want and let it go with that. I'm not critical of guys who believe in it, because believing in what you're doing is about 50% of fish catching. I sure as heck won't stay home because I just couldn't find the right UV materials and figure it will ruin a day of fishing.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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