Spent Hackle Point Wings
Hackle-point wings tied spent-style may be used in many dressings that imitate spent flies, including imitations of larger natural insects such as damselflies and dragonflies. There are two important things to note about spent-winged flies. First, do not make the wings too long or they will catch in the hook bend when cast. Second, for the hackle, use a short-fibered one to ensure that the fly will sit correctly in the surface tension instead of being partly above it.
Spent hair or hackle-fiber wings are useful alternatives to spent hackle-point wings, and the tying techniques are very similar to that shown in the following photographs. Instead of preparing a hackle, prepare a bunch of hair or hackle fibers as described for these types of tails in Chapter 3.
- Keeping their outside surfaces uppermost, pull the wings slightly apart so that the far wing is resting against the far side of the hook eye and the near wing against the near side.
- Gently pull the near wing toward you until it is at right angles to the shank.
- To lock the wings in position, first take the tying thread up in front of the near wing as shown, then over the shank between the wings, and down behind the far wing.
- Wind close turns of foundation thread halfway down the hook shank, then return the thread halfway back in wide turns to the wing position. (S)
- Select two medium-size hackles (the ones shown are dark Cree cock hackles).
- Place one hackle on top of the other (outside surfaces up), align the tips, and check for length and proportions. Spent hackle-point wings should be a little longer than the shank.
- Prepare the hackles by cutting off the surplus fibers (see "Hackle-Point Tails" in Chapter 3).
- Check again for length, as shown, with the waists in line with the secured tying thread.
- Holding the prepared hackles in your left hand (one on top of the other and outside surfaces up), place them on the hook shank at the wing position, as shown.
- Keeping the wings in position with your left thumb, wind two securing turns of thread over the waists. (S)
- Cut off the surplus hackle stalks.
- Body and hackle: Wind the thread in close turns to the tail. Then form the body and tie in (but do not wind on) a hackle just behind the wings.
- Wind the tying thread to the front of the wings. (S)
- Wind the thread under the hook, release the near wing and gently pull the far wing out (away from you) at right angles to the shank.
- Bring the thread up behind the near wing, and between the two wings as shown, crossing the previous turn of thread.
- Take the thread down in front of the base of the far wing and under the shank.
- Repeat these criss-cross binding turns two or three times, finishing in front of the wings. (S)
- The wings should now be at right angles to the hook. If they are not, pull them back and wind several turns of thread around the shank hard up against the front of the wings.
- To complete the fly: wind the tying thread to the hook eye. (S) Wind two turns of hackle behind the wings, one turn over (between the wings) and the remainder in front of the wings. Tie off the hackle (S) and finish off the fly.
- If the wings are not as neat as you would like, check that they are tied in at the waist; if so, the fault is probably in the preparation.
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