Winding One Hackle through Another Dry Flies

This technique is used for two main reasons: the fly is more conspicuous on the water (if hackles of two different colors are used), and the extra hackle gives more buoyancy. Winding one hackle through another is straightforward. The only problem is to match the widths of the two hackles if they are from two different capes. When adding an extra hackle to an ordinary dry fly simply to give it more buoyancy, two or more hackles can be plucked from the same spot on the cape, of course.

The following sequence of photographs shows how to tie the hackles of the Near Enough dry fly.

  • From one cape, select a hackle of the right proportions for the hook (see "Proportions of a Fly" at the end of Chapter 2).
  • From the second cape, find a hackle of similar size and the same width as the first one (as shown). The second hackle will not necessarily come from the same quarter of the cape as the first.
  • Prepare both hackles (they can both be prepared at once, if you are careful) in the same way as described in the last sequence.
  • The photograph shows two good-quality cock capes, suitable for providing hackles of two different colors for the Near Enough fly. On the left is a medium red cape, and on the right is a Plymouth Rock cape. Neither cape is dyed.
  • Tie in the first hackle with one or two close turns of tying thread. Tie in the second hackle adjacent to the first, then wind close, firm, securing turns of tying thread to the hook eye. (S)
  • If you wish one of the two colors to predominate (as in the fly shown here) tie in that color first, as it will be wound on second and will therefore show up a little more.
  • Note: For a very bushy fly with several hackles, the body must be tied off further down the shank than usual to allow room for the extra hackles.
  • First wind on the hackle that was second to be tied in, leaving a small space between turns.
  • Tie off the first wound-on hackle. (S)
  • Wind on the second hackle (which was first to be tied in), wiggling it through the first hackle to avoid trapping too many fibers.
  • Note that the twist in the hackle must be maintained until the hackle is completely wound on.
  • Tie off the second hackle with at least two turns of tying thread. (S)
  • Trim off the surplus hackle tips, close to the securing turns. If the surplus is not cut close enough, an ugly stub remains, which may block the eye. This fault cannot be successfully hidden with a wrap knot!
  • Tease out any trapped fibers with the dubbing needle, as shown.
  • Complete the fly with a wrap knot, then lacquer the head and clear the eye (if necessary) before the lacquer dries.
Near Enough Fly
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