To the untrained eye, a feather is just a feather. But to a fly fisherman, there are all sorts of different feathers, each with their own unique properties and uses. here, we'll take a look at some of the different types of feathers and hackle that are commonly used in fly tying, and how they can be used to create flies for all sorts of different situations.
There are two main types of feathers that are used in fly tying: hackle feathers and body feathers. Hackle feathers are attached to the hook near the eye and extend back towards the tail. They're used to create "bristles" that help the fly float high in the water and give it extra movement. On the other hand, body feathers are attached further back on the hook and are used to create the "body" of the fly.
One of the most common feathers used for hackle is rooster saddle hackle. This type of feather has long, stiff fibers that make it ideal for creatingstreamers—a type of fly that's meant to resemble a small fish or other aquatic creature. Another common type of hackle feather is hen cape, which has shorter fibers that make it better suited for dry flies—a type of fly that's meant to float on top of the water.
There are also many different types of body feathers that can be used in fly tying. One of the most popular is named after its resemblance to a peacock's tail: peacock herl. Peacock herl is often used for nymphs—a type offly that's meant to resemble a larva or other underwater creature. Goose biots are another type of popular body feather; they're long and thin, making them ideal for creating mayfly patterns—a type of fly that resembles a mayfly nymph or adult.
Finally, we come to chicken feathers. Chicken feathers have all sorts of uses in fly tying, thanks to their versatility. Hen capes can be used for both dry flies and wet flies, while Delta wings can be used for anything from streamers to nymphs. And those are just a few examples—there are countless other ways that chicken feathers can be used in fly tying.
As you can see, there are all sorts of different types of feathers that can be used for fly tying, each with their own unique properties and uses. So next time you're at your local fly shop, don't be afraid to ask about all the different types of feathers available—you might be surprised at just how many there are!