Jump to content

ClassicFlyTying.com Sponsors
Hand Made Salmon Hooks
Ronn Lucas, Sr.
www.ronnlucassr.com
(503)654-0466
ronn@ronnlucassr.com

Photo

Feathers for salmon fly tying


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 jgogg

jgogg

    Jim Goggans

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,140 posts

Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:47 AM

Since the old days of "The Salmon Flyer", I have written articles from time to time on the subject of obtaining materials.  That first one in the Flyer was written in the early years of my own quest for feathers.  These days, tiers new to the quest have many more resources.  The publication of THE FEATHER THIEF could well give new tiers the wrong idea, however.  There is no "feather underground".  From the start of my own tying decades ago, there were always  legitimate sellers.  Some of the things needed could be obtained, then and now, from your friendly local fly shop that mainly caters to trout tiers.  Then, there were specialists.  I bought much of my early stuff from Jim Krul at English Angling Trappings.  And Phil Castleman at Castlearms.  Phil is still in business, but Jim has moved on.  Then I discovered Kim Rasmussen.  And later, Jens Pilgaard.  They have both moved on as well.  Ken Sawada was a source for many years, but he is closing up shop this month.  Now John McLain, Aaron Ostoj, Doug Milsap, Steve Cooper, Mike Chan, Paul Philipone and others are active dealers.  eBay frequently has feathers we may use, mainly sold by breeders or bird pet owners. But also taxidermy and feathers from the old millinery trade turn up from time to time.   It is good to keep up with "About Feathers" on Facebook.  There is  trading that goes on between tiers.  And collections that tiers sell when they have to give up tying or their estates sell.  It never hurts to look in antique or curio stores.  I found a wonderful old Java Green Peacock taxidermy stuck under a stairwell in a curio shop one time!

 

Buying feathers for tying salmon flies is not like pulling out the Harbor Freight catalog and ordering up whatever tools you happen to need whenever you think you need them.  It takes patience to pull together a collection of feathers so that you may tie the traditional flies with the traditional materials.  Not every seller has every needed feather all the time.   

 

Today, it is thoughtful to avoid those feathers that come from endangered species; with the proviso that it is likely reasonable to use those, such as from the Scarlet Macaw, that can be obtained as molts from pet or zoo birds.  Or those that you are sure come from antique taxidermy or old millinery feathers. 

 

Then there is the ongoing issue of provenance for those feathers that are part of the 62 birds stolen from the Tring Museum by Edwin Rist and sold to salmon fly tiers around the world that have not yet been returned.  I am trying to obtain a current list of the remaining missing birds.   I will share it when I get it.  I do not know how to advise tiers seeking to collect feathers to tie traditional flies with traditional materials when it comes to feathers that could be from those stolen birds.  It would make all tiers lives better if those birds were returned!  Meanwhile, there are many excellent substitutes available for the feathers of a number of those stolen birds. 

 

If anyone new to the quest for feathers needs more specific information on obtaining particular feathers, you may message me with your  search and I will be happy to provide what help I am able.  But, dealers such as John McLain will likely be able to help you with a broader knowledge of what can be found than I possess. 


Darwin award winner of flytying

#2 arkle

arkle

    arkle

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,424 posts

Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:17 AM

If the "like" button worked, it would have at least 1 click, by now.



#3 Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

    Just living the dream....

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,457 posts

Posted 13 May 2018 - 10:40 AM

Ditto to Arkle's comment Jim. You've hit the proverbial nail on the head........


Petri Heil,

George

 

"I've spent many days on the golf course and said I should have gone fishing.

But I've NEVER been on a trout stream or Atlantic Salmon river and said I should have played golf." - Me


#4 bags6lax

bags6lax

    Stow, MA USA

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,210 posts

Posted 14 May 2018 - 01:28 PM

I might add, that being fairly new to this entire "classic" fly tying scene...I have found that there is a skill needed to tie even the most basic of salmon flies.  The beauty of these flies, to me, is in the skill of pulling that off.  The little details that separate great tiers from world class. 

 

But the thing that trumps all that, is high quality materials.  The material quest is almost as hard as tying the flies lol.  Its not cheap (then again, most hobbies aren't once you get into them a little).  However, to get going in the craft its easy to start out with 1000's of flies that don't need special, hard to find materials.  Good, high quality materials, that the bill for those flies can easily be found without going "underground".

 

Bronze mallard, good quality hackles, and GP crests are the never ending search, and if you tie a lot...the ones you are constantly replacing. 

 

The part that still chaps my ass a little...is the "throwaway" factor with a lot of material.  Especially off eBay...buy twenty ostrich plumes, keep two, donate eighteen to my kids craft projects lol 

 

Haven't made it past the first chapter of the book...fall asleep everytime!


-Matt


#5 jgogg

jgogg

    Jim Goggans

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,140 posts

Posted 14 May 2018 - 08:20 PM

"The part that still chaps my ass a little...is the "throwaway" factor with a lot of material.  Especially off eBay...buy twenty ostrich plumes, keep two, donate eighteen to my kids craft projects lol" 

 

I should say that I have never attended the big commercial "shows" where you apparently sometimes find feather vendors.  That may be a place where you can look through feathers for just the ones you want.  But, for ostrich plumes, I have found a local solution.  Michael's and Hobby Lobby sell them for decorating.  I go by once or twice a year and look through every black one that is in the bin.  Normally, I am able to find one that has short, dense barbules and is just the thing!  Then, you only have to buy one.


Darwin award winner of flytying

#6 Charlie Vestal

Charlie Vestal

    Lakewood, Colorado

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,403 posts

Posted 14 May 2018 - 11:01 PM

My local Walmart only carries feather dusters with natural black ostrich plumes.

 

Most of the flies I tie are small, 2-3/0, so I need short herls (1 mm) on the ostrich.  I was able to find several gray plumes at my local trout fly shop that fit the bill exactly except for the color.  A dye job later, I've got some good looking ostrich herl.

 

What I really need (as we all do) is a source for Christmas tree shaped cock hackles.  Talk about the throwaway factor when you buy strung saddle and this comes to mind.  Indian cock saddles are better but you can't get a pure white for the lighter colors (i.e. Silver Doctor blue).

 

Charlie


Chemical Engineering: Solving problems you didn't know you had, in ways you don't understand ......

#7 jgogg

jgogg

    Jim Goggans

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,140 posts

Posted 15 May 2018 - 12:53 AM

Yep.  Strung hackles just aren't all the right shape.  Fortunately they are not too expensive, so I have just gotten used to buying an ounce and getting several dozen feathers.  I did finally do the clever thing and take all the good feathers out of each new batch I purchase and put them in clear plastic bins so it is easy to get one when needed. (One box for dyed hackles and one for natural.) 


Darwin award winner of flytying

#8 Barkworth

Barkworth

    ClassicFlyTying.net

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,239 posts

Posted 15 May 2018 - 11:18 AM

My local Walmart only carries feather dusters with natural black ostrich plumes.

 

Most of the flies I tie are small, 2-3/0, so I need short herls (1 mm) on the ostrich.  I was able to find several gray plumes at my local trout fly shop that fit the bill exactly except for the color.  A dye job later, I've got some good looking ostrich herl.

 

What I really need (as we all do) is a source for Christmas tree shaped cock hackles.  Talk about the throwaway factor when you buy strung saddle and this comes to mind.  Indian cock saddles are better but you can't get a pure white for the lighter colors (i.e. Silver Doctor blue).

 

Charlie

 

 

I bought saddles in bulk, from a supplier in India. Dx recommended me. Out of 50 capes, I got about 40 that have the hackles with the desired shape. They are long and pointy, and can be used from size 6 up to size 5/0. Easana Traders, they are called.

 

Rv-

 

PS. One reason the old guys used black Ostrich herl for butts, is because it was the only true black in the water. When dying yours, the effect is lost. Not that it matters, but an interesting fact :-)


  www.ClassicFlyTying.net

the reference guide for traditional salmon fly tying...


#9 wsbailey

wsbailey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 300 posts

Posted 20 May 2018 - 06:46 PM

Robert, How did you order from Easana? I tried multiple times and his English is so bad I didn't manage to place an order and I used to teach English as a second language.

#10 Barkworth

Barkworth

    ClassicFlyTying.net

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,239 posts

Posted 20 May 2018 - 09:35 PM

Robert, How did you order from Easana? I tried multiple times and his English is so bad I didn't manage to place an order and I used to teach English as a second language.

His english was horrible. It took a leap of faith. Dx recommended them, so I figured theyd at least send my stuff. And they did... dont ask them to fake the value on your customs slip or where to put the invoice, there is no talking to them. They did understand saddle, $$$, and address perfectly :-)

Rv-

  www.ClassicFlyTying.net

the reference guide for traditional salmon fly tying...


#11 Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

    Just living the dream....

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,457 posts

Posted 21 May 2018 - 01:30 AM

Googled "Easana Traders" with no luck. Who the devil are they and how do you find them?


Petri Heil,

George

 

"I've spent many days on the golf course and said I should have gone fishing.

But I've NEVER been on a trout stream or Atlantic Salmon river and said I should have played golf." - Me


#12 wsbailey

wsbailey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 300 posts

Posted 21 May 2018 - 03:09 AM

https://m.facebook.com/easana.traders.71

#13 Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

    Just living the dream....

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,457 posts

Posted 21 May 2018 - 10:44 AM

Thanks Bill...but I DO NOT belong to Facebook...never have ...never will.


Petri Heil,

George

 

"I've spent many days on the golf course and said I should have gone fishing.

But I've NEVER been on a trout stream or Atlantic Salmon river and said I should have played golf." - Me


#14 wsbailey

wsbailey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 300 posts

Posted 21 May 2018 - 01:06 PM

George, If it's a privacy issue Google blows Facebook out of the water. Facebook has its downside but it's a question of balance. For me, the benefits outweigh the negatives.

#15 Barkworth

Barkworth

    ClassicFlyTying.net

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,239 posts

Posted 21 May 2018 - 05:20 PM

Exactly, Bill. People have no clue these days...

Rv-


  www.ClassicFlyTying.net

the reference guide for traditional salmon fly tying...


#16 Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

    Just living the dream....

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,457 posts

Posted 21 May 2018 - 06:56 PM

I happen to agree with you on Google as well. However...as I have said before...a computer security friend strongly urged me to stay away from Facebook...he referred to it as a window to your computer. It is quite true that those of us who use our computers for everyday things like bill paying, news, email, shopping and a myriad of other things have all given up a great deal of our privacy. I just try to limit that part of all this as much as possible.


Petri Heil,

George

 

"I've spent many days on the golf course and said I should have gone fishing.

But I've NEVER been on a trout stream or Atlantic Salmon river and said I should have played golf." - Me


#17 Barkworth

Barkworth

    ClassicFlyTying.net

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,239 posts

Posted 21 May 2018 - 09:05 PM

Every time you click "OK" on the cookies warning, buddy...

 

Rv-


  www.ClassicFlyTying.net

the reference guide for traditional salmon fly tying...


#18 Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

    Just living the dream....

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,457 posts

Posted 21 May 2018 - 10:03 PM

Every time you click "OK" on the cookies warning, buddy...

 

Rv-

Don't I know it......


Petri Heil,

George

 

"I've spent many days on the golf course and said I should have gone fishing.

But I've NEVER been on a trout stream or Atlantic Salmon river and said I should have played golf." - Me


#19 Barkworth

Barkworth

    ClassicFlyTying.net

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,239 posts

Posted 22 May 2018 - 04:18 PM

Got milk?! :P

Rv-


  www.ClassicFlyTying.net

the reference guide for traditional salmon fly tying...


#20 Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

    Just living the dream....

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,457 posts

Posted 23 May 2018 - 01:08 AM

LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Petri Heil,

George

 

"I've spent many days on the golf course and said I should have gone fishing.

But I've NEVER been on a trout stream or Atlantic Salmon river and said I should have played golf." - Me