Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trimming Hackles: Pros and Cons

There are several schools of thought regarding hackle trimming. Some fly tiers say that a trimmed hackle will float higher than an untrimmed one because the ends lie flat, don’t absorb water and will take more abuse. By contrast, other tiers say that untrimmed hackles float just as well, look more natural when floating and improve the success of the fly.

Trimmed Hackle

Since I have used these methods with equal success I believe that it doesn’t make any real difference. Try each of these methods for yourself and see if you notice any appreciable difference. However, if you decide to trim the hackles, use a larger than normal hackle and trim the ends so they are equal to the gap distance.

Untrimmed Hackle

Reversed Hackle

Another method that’s supposed to help the fly float better is to tie in the hackle butt so that the hackles are pointing forward. Test this method and compare it to the other two. 

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