Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies takes us through how to select soft hackle fly tying material from many different wild game birds, some of which might surprise you.
Soft Hackle Materials
Many folks are familiar with Hungarian Partridge and Starling for tying soft hackle fly patterns, but have you tried Ruffed Grouse, Blue Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Bobwhite Quail or California Quail? As Craig points out, these are all beautiful birds and have particular uses for tying soft hackle patterns, such as:
- Ruffed Grouse – Mottled back feathers similar to Hungarian Partridge
- Blue Grouse – Good for larger soft hackles, tails are also great for wing casings and wrapped herl bodies
- Sharp-tailed Grouse – Mottled golden brown feathers similar to the highly sought after and hard to find Golden Plover
- Bobwhite Quail – Mottled feathers are like mini Hungarian Partridge
- California Quail – Beautiful dun feathers for tying small soft hackles (down to size 24)
Some of the above wild game bird skins are hard to come buy but you can sometimes find them on eBay, that is if Craig and the good folks at Blue Ribbon Flies can’t hook you up first!