Guide to Using Hackle
When I began tying in the ‘60s the hackle available to us was limited. I remember there was a short period when grizzly hackle, or Plymouth Rock as it was called then, was completely unavailable. Even if you could find a decent neck it was exceedingly difficult to tie small flies, and you were down in the short pin feathers at the base of the neck to manage even a size 18 dry fly.
Today we have an embarrassment of riches where hackle is concerned. We have genetic dry fly necks, saddle hackle, Bugger Packs, various types of hen hackle, Schlappen, Deceiver Packs, Coq de Leon, Tailing Packs, the list goes on and on. But with all these options it can be daunting to figure out just which type of hackle is best for a given fly. I’ll try to clarify this and show some ways to best use hackle in each application.
Eric Austin, Author