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An Interesting Hackle

by Phillip Dobson
(Butte, MT)

Brightly colored hackle

Brightly colored hackle

I recently picked up a couple ring-neck pheasant neck-rings as a substitute for exotic feathers on salmon flies. It turns out that the feathers are also awesome for kebari.

The patches come dyed a few different colors or natural. One of the best things is that the size of the feathers nicely correspond with what we usually use tenkara fishing. Lots of feathers and little waste. Give 'em a try!

Comments for An Interesting Hackle

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Feb 15, 2017
Beautiful Work!
by: John Evans

Thanks for the tip! Beautiful work, by the way . . . gives me something to strive for!

Feb 15, 2017
Nice Looking Flies
by: Les Albjerg

Got to love those Amago hooks! Nice looking flies. I was wondering about how pheasant would work, and you have shown that it works wonderfully. Have you tried Guinea hen feathers? Anyone on the group tried Guinea? Looking forward to hear if the fish love them too! I think they look awesome!

Feb 15, 2017
by: Phillip

Thanks guys. Soon I'll have enough kebari for decades of fishing. I like how relaxing they are to tie compared to salmon flies and the like.

Most of the feathers on a pheasant are pretty big for kebari (assuming about a #12 hook). That's a big reason partridge is so popular, but even then there aren't a lot of perfect shoulder feathers. The ringneck patches are mostly useful feathers and only cost a couple bucks.

I've only used strung guinea hackles and they're really big. The last one was for a gorgeous, full, flowing collar on a 4/0 salmon hook. Almost spey hackle territory, but not as wispy or mobile. I don't have a full skin, so I don't know if there are small feathers somewhere. I mainly use them for collaring salmon flies.

I have a sharptail grouse that I really like for soft hackle. The saddle feathers are maybe slightly large but still work well. Really beautiful patterning.

Feb 17, 2017
Nice Work
by: Jay

I'll have to try those out sometime. Have you tried the green feathers out as well?
For the record, I personally like using pheasant body feathers for "oversize" hackles, particularly the breast and upper back feathers. Hen pheasant is great, too, if you can get it.

Feb 17, 2017
by: Phillip

The neck patches also have feathers from both above and below the white ring. The iridescent blue/green ones are small and dark and would work well for smaller hackle (and salmonfly cheeks). The ones below are patterned light and dark and a little longer. The yellow dyed ones are nicely reminiscent of golden stoneflies.

On an unrelated note, I also recently tied with the tiny green feathers from the head of a mallard drake. The color is beautiful, but the only use I could find was to build a salmonfly body in the style of Major Traherne's Chatterer. It required tying in approximately two hundred individual feathers. They're too small and delicate for much else, unfortunately.

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