Saturday, June 27, 2015

How to Tie Fan Wing Flies

Brown Hackle Peacock dry fly with fan wings of mallard breast feathers, red hackle tail, peacock body and brown saddle hackle
Brown Hackle Peacock 
Fan wing flies were most popular from the early 1920’s to the early 1950’s. To many, fan wing patterns were very classy and effective but harder to tie than other flies. They were primarily used to represent a large mayfly, but the wing style did not closely resemble a mayfly since they were lop-eared instead of the customary upright position. In spite of this deviation, they still fished very well. 

 The wings come from the breast and flank feathers of mallards, wood ducks and other types of ducks and birds. Fan wings are not the easiest to tie, are very fragile and seldom last after hooking numerous fish. Another problem can develop when casting the fly. The wings will often twist and turn in the air as well as float off balance on the water. This is due to their cupped wing feathers. 

The fan wing fly shown below is called a Brown Hackle Peacock. Here are the tying instructions. To make a base for the feather stems and to help hold them in place, wrap several X-winds around the hook. Place the wings together fanning outward and pinch the quill ends with your fingers so that they straddle the hook. Set them in place with 5 or 6 tight overwraps. Next, wrap 3-4 turns of thread around the base of the quill ends and tighten them to the hook. Check for the alignment and reposition them if necessary. Then, make several more turns of thread abound the base and trim of the ends. Cement the windings and finish the fly.

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