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Spey Hackles

Like many of you, the first fly I learned to tie was a woolly bugger.

That was a long time ago now and little did I know that selecting just the right feathers for this fly was far more complicated than learning how to tie it.

Do you want soft or stiff fibers? Long stems? Rooster or hen feathers? Cape or saddle? It all depends on the waters you will be fishing.

Feathers for Tying Spey Flies

Most all feathers you'll find packaged and labeled "bugger packs" are going to be a big let-down unless you know what you are looking for.

If you're fishing faster moving waters, look for feathers that are on the stiff side. If the fibers are too soft, your fly will look like a motionless cone under water. The larger feathers on a rooster cape are your best bet.

For slower moving waters, the key is to make your fly come alive and for that you need soft feathers. Hen capes offer the best choices but saddles are even softer. To see how an expert selects the best feathers, Rich Osthoff has written an article for me, sharing some of the secrets of his success.

 

***The complete reading is on the bottom of this page. Please visit; Tying with Soft Hackle; 25 years of insight.

 

Body Hackle for Woolly Bugger Patterns

 

whiting hen hackleWhiting Hen Feathers

Whiting hen necks have exceptionally short hackle barbs relative to feather length, that means more turns around the body and a buggier, more densely hackled fly. These hens offer a wide range of colors and fiber lengh perfect for tying bugger patterns.

So which to buy? Cape or Saddle? Hen capes offer the widest choice in sizes and colors . The feathers are long and narrow yet soft. One of the benefits of a hen cape is that the smaller sizes on the top of the neck have a stem long enough to give you a few wraps - even on the smallest hook sizes.

Looking to tie larger sizes? Hen saddles is the economical way to buy high-quality soft hackle in sizes ranging from 8's, 10's and larger.

 

 

     
Whiting Hen Capes $25.00  

Soft and Webby Feathers

If you're tying smaller sizes, 12's to 16's and smaller, and looking for soft fibers, hen capes are ideal.

Whiting hen necks have exceptionally long feather length and that means more turns around the body and a buggier, more densely hackled fly.

Whiting Hen Capes offer the widest choice in sizes and colors . The feathers are long and narrow yet soft.

One of the benefits of a hen cape is that the smaller sizes on the top of the neck have a stem long enough to give you a few wraps - even on the smallest of flys.

To see the complete offering of colors, please visit my page; Whiting Soft Hackle Hen Capes.

 

Best Selling Colors / $25

To order, choose a color
 

 

 

 

 

     
Whiting Hen Saddles $15.00  

Wide Feathers

I prefer saddle hackle for the front of my Buggers; it’s super soft and webby and adds spey-like action.

But even a long hen saddle feather palmers only 3 or 4 turns around a dubbed thorax, so I shoot to cover just the front 1/3 of a Bugger with a saddle hackle

To see the complete offering of colors, please visit my page; Whiting Hen Saddles.

 

Best Sellers / $15

To order, choose a color
 

 


To check out, click the "view cart" button

 

 

 


 

 

Feather Emporium Custom Bugger Packs

This line of roosters has been carefully selected over many generations to grow long saddle feathers with web. They are wider than dry fly saddle hackle and the fibers are softer.

Unlike dry fly saddle hackle, these feathers have quite a bit of tapper. So if you're tying wooly buggers and want a cone shape look, these are what you're looking for!

Also available in bright colors, these are perfect for tying flatwing fly patterns. The stems are strong and these webby feather hold their shape in water.

 

     
Whiting Rooster Cape Bugger Hackle $9.50  

Long Stems - Stiff Hackle

These buggar packs are a terriffic value! They are the feathers from the base of the cape.

The Woolly Bugger still remains one of the most deadly flies in your fly box.

Each pack includes 40 to 50 feathers, 3" to 5" long, and tie sizes 8, 10, & 12's.

These buggar packs are a terriffic value! They are the feathers from the base of the cape.

These buggar packs are a terriffic value! They are the feathers from the base of the cape.

 

 

Best Selling Colors / $9.50

To order, choose a color
 


To check out, click the "view cart" button

 

 

 

     
Whiting Rooster Cape Bugger Hackle $9.50  

High Visability Colors!

These buggar packs are a terriffic value! They are the feathers from the base of the cape.

The Woolly Bugger still remains one of the most deadly flies in your fly box.

Each pack includes 40 to 50 feathers, 3" to 5" long, and tie sizes 8, 10, & 12's.

These buggar packs are a terriffic value! They are the feathers from the base of the cape.

These buggar packs are a terriffic value! They are the feathers from the base of the cape.

 

 

High Visability Colors / $9.50

To order, choose a color
 


To check out, click the "view cart" button

 

 

 

     
Bugger Packs - Saddle Patches $7.50  

Soft Webby Rooster Saddle Hackle

The feathers on these saddle patches are fairly soft with webbing down the center of the feather. This makes them a perfect bugger feather, giving your fly movement and life in the water.

 

Bugger Packs / Medium Sizes - $7.50

To order, choose a color

 

 

 

 

Bugger Packs / Large Sizes - $9.50

To order, choose a color

 

 

 

 

Mini Schlappen Bundles $7.50/ bundle  

Christmas Tree Shape

These are some of the nicest feathers you'll find for tying bugger patterns - 8 to 14's.

I call them "mini schlappen" because they are the feathers found between the saddle hackle and the schlappen feathers.

Not quite as long as true sclappen, the feathers range from 5 to 9 inches.

The stems on these feathers are flexable, perfect for turning around a hook.

And for muddy waters, try out a few bright colors. Red, purple, and orange are some of my best sellers.

 

12 Feather Bundles - $7.50

 

 

     
Bugger Patches - 8's & 10's $7.50  

Large Sizes - Soft Hackle

I get more calls from tyers looking for hackle to tie 8's and 10's on a 3x hook. Hen capes are too small, Saddle feathers are too short...

These bugger patches offer the best choice. The fibers are long and soft.

The feathers on these patches are found on the bird's chest and as you can see, the feathers are large.

The feather length ranges from 3 to 4 inches, giving you plenty of turns around the body.

As you can see in the picture, these bugger patches come in a wide range of natural colors. Grizzly and grizzly dyed olive are the two top colors.

And if you're looking for bright colors to fish in muddy waters, try a few of the bright colors.

If you're looking for hackle for larger buggers, the only thing larger is going to be the matuka feathers found on the Whiting Soft Hackle with Chickabou.

 

 

Medium (10's & 12's) - $7.50/3 patches

To order, choose a color

 

 

Large (8's & 10's) - $7.50/3 patches

To order, choose a color
 

 

 

 

 

     
Whiting Bugger Matuka Patches - 6's, 8's & 10's $9.50  

Large Sizes - Soft Hackle

For tying 8's and 10's, and even 6's, the feathers on these Soft Hackle Patches are the best you'll find.

These are the feathers are found on the chest of a Whiting rooster.

The feather length ranges from 3 to 4 inches.

Also refered to a s Matuka feathers, they are long, wide, and webby. The fibers are soft and long.

Whiting harvests these patches from all their feather lines, with brahma and Coq de Leon being some of the most unique.

To see the complete offering of colors, please visit my page; Whiting Soft Hackle with Chickabou.

 

 

Patches / $9.50

To order, choose a color
 

 

 

 

 

 

Whiting Woolly Bugger Saddles

This line of roosters has been carefully selected over many generations to grow long saddle feathers with web. They are wider than dry fly saddle hackle and the barbs are longer and softer.

Unlike dry fly saddle hackle, these feathers have quite a bit of tapper. So if you're tying wooly buggers and want a cone shape look, these are what you're looking for!

Also available in bright colors, these are perfect for tying flatwing fly patterns. The stems are strong and these webby feather hold their shape in water.

     
Woolly Bugger Saddles $35.00  

Soft Hackle Saddles

The soft fibers on these long saddle feathers make these ideal for tying any size and color buggar pattern.

To see the complete offering of colors, please visit my page; Darbee Duns.

 

Full Saddle / $35

To order, choose a color

 

 

Half Saddle / $20

To order, choose a color

 

 

Bugger Pack / $7.50

To order, choose a color
 


To check out, click the "view cart" button

 

 

 

     
Woolly Bugger Saddles - Large Sizes $45.00  

LONG Webby Feathers!

Long feathers for large sizes. Soft and webby. Graded for feather count and length, some reach 13 inches and longer.

 

 

Grade #1 / $75

To order, choose a color

 

 

Grade #2 / $45

To order, choose a color

 

 

Grade #3 / $30

To order, choose a color
 


To check out, click the "view cart" button

 

 

 

     
Special - White Rooster Saddles $20.00  

White Wooly Buggers

These are some nice saddles for tying white wooly buggars. The feathers are 5 to 7 inches long and have a fair amount of webbing, making them soft enough to give your fly movement in the water.

Besides buggars, these saddles have feathers perfect for decievers and other saltwater patterns. Looking to try your hand at dying feathers, here you go!

 

Full Saddle / $20.00

 

 

     
Whiting American Rooster Saddles $25.00  

Large Sizes - Stiff Hackle

These are Whiting American Rooster Saddles that I've selected for this page because of the feather quality.

The feathers are long with a slight taper, giving your bugger a nice look.

The feather length ranges from 3 to 7 inches.

Fishing muddy waters? Try some bright colors. Orange, red, puurple, I have them and more!

 

Full Saddle / $25

To order, choose a color

 

Half Saddle / $15

To order, choose a color
 

 

 

 

 

 

     
Ewing Woolly Bugger Packs $7.50  

Soft Webby Rooster Saddle

Ewing Woolly Bugger Packets are feather patches cut from the sides of his rooster saddles.

The feathers on these saddle patches are fairly soft with webbing down the center of the feather. This makes them a perfect bugger feather, giving your fly movement and life in the water.

If there are other colors you are looking for, please call me.

 

Bugger Packs - $7.50

To order, choose a color

 

 

 


 

 

Tailing Feathers for Woolly Bugger Patterns

 

     
Marabou - Strung Blood Quills $2.75  

Feather Packs - 1/4 oz strung

The fibers on these feathers gives your fly life in the water. No other feather does quite the job simulating movement in the water.

Marabou is collected from the bird right where you put the stuffing in the turkey. These are the softest, fuffiest feathers on the bird.

The term "blood quills" refers to the stage of feather growth. When a feather is growing, it is said to be "in blood". New feathers just coming in are called "pin feathers".

The reason blood quills are are the best to use is that they are new feathers. Birds molt each year and these new blood quills are fresh, not brittle, and free of any broken tips

A second reason is that a blood feather stem is flexible and not as bulky. If left to grow another 10 days the feather "primes out" and the stem thickens and hardens.

Dyed, they come in countless colors. I've listed the most popular colors, the rest you can find in the drop down menu.

Marabou Packs - $2.75

To order, choose a color;
 


To check out, click the "view cart" button

 

 

red yellow orange chartruese soft pink purple hot pink  

Hot Colors

black white brown olive lt olive tan wine  

Earth Tones

 

 

 

 

     
Soft Hackle with Chicabou $15.00  

Grizzly Tails

The best feathers for tying "matuka" style flies are found on the breast of dry fly roosters. The feathers are long and wide with a round tip. The web is dense and extends to the edge of each feather.

Lower on the pelt is the chickabou. The best way to describe these feathers is that they are mini marabou. The fibers are soft and fluffy like marabou.

To see the complete offering of colors, please visit my page; Whiting Soft Hackle with Chickabou.

 

Best Selling Colors / $15

To order, choose a color
 


To check out, click the "view cart" button

 

 

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Tying with Soft-Hackle

25 Years of Insight

by Rich Osthoff, Author of Active Nymphing
For more on tying and fishing soft-hackle flies go to www.richosthoff.com


Palmering with Soft-Hackle

I began tying Soft-Hackle Woolly Buggers and Woolly Worms more than 25 years ago as the first genetic hen necks and saddles hit the market. For the first time I had soft, webby hen hackle with sufficient feather length to palmer several turns around a chunky body. Soon I was tying and fishing super-buggy Woollies loaded with great prospecting attributes.

As a commercial tier, I’ve worked with hen necks from all leading breeders, and Whiting feathers are the longest—that means more turns around the body and a buggier, more densely hackled fly. Whiting hen necks also have exceptionally short hackle barbs relative to feather length, making them a great buy. I burn up a lot of size 12 to 16 Soft-Hackle in my commercial tying, and I can use the center two-thirds of a Whiting neck for palmering size 12 to 16 Woolly Worms and Mini-Buggers. Hen necks from other breeders yield few hackles for these sizes; their hackle is mostly larger. I do tie many sizable Buggers, but buying hen saddles, not hen necks, is the economical way to buy high-quality soft hackle in larger sizes.


Tips for Tying Soft-Hackle Woollies:

- I tail my Worm with a short tuft of rabbit hair from a rabbit hide or zonker strip.
- I tail my Bugger with the tip of a marabou blood quill and a few strands of flash.
- I palmer each Woolly with 2 hen hackles, so I dub and hackle the body in 2 stages.
- I dub a forward tapered body using 2/3 rabbit blended with 1/3 chopped Antron.
- I tie in hackles by tips, with top of feather facing the hook eye, and I palmer forward.
- I rake finished fly from head to tail with a nylon brush to marry hackle with teased dubbing.

NOTE: the Worm (a wet fly/nymph) has shorter hackle than the Bugger (a streamer). SEE PHOTOS; they demonstrate desired hackle size and shape for Worms and Buggers.


Palmering Guide for Soft-Hackle Woolly Worm
Wind a neck hackle over rear 1/3 of body.
Wind a neck hackle over front 2/3 of body.


Palmering Guide for Soft-Hackle Woolly Bugger
Wind a neck hackle over rear 2/3 of body.
Wind a saddle hackle over front 1/3 of body.


About Saddles: I prefer saddle hackle for the front of my Buggers; it’s super soft and webby and adds spey-like action. But even a long hen saddle feather palmers only 3 or 4 turns around a dubbed thorax, so I shoot to cover just the front 1/3 of a Bugger with a saddle hackle.


Soft-Hackle Buying Guide for Palmering

Necks: Whiting hen necks have exceptionally long feathers for hackling Worms and the rear 2/3 of Buggers. The feather count in the size 12 to 16 range is the best in the business.
Saddles: Whiting hen saddles provide soft, webby, and less expensive hackle for palmering the front 1/3 of Buggers. A typical saddle has hackle for Buggers ranging from size 2 to size 14.


Favorite Woolly Worm Sizes and Color Schemes
I tie and fish Worms mostly in sizes 12 and 16.
*Black Body/Grizzly Hackle/ Black Tail is my personal favorite.
*Black Body/Black Hackle/Orange Tail is another strong color scheme.
*Olive-dyed-Grizzly, Brown, Dun, and Cream are all useful neck colors.


Favorite Woolly Bugger Sizes and Color Schemes
I tie Buggers in sizes 4 to 14. I primarily fish sizes 6, 8, and 12. A Size 12 Mini-Bugger is my standard for spooky, clear-water trout. In dirty water, I jump to size 8. For big-river trout and smallmouth bass, I like size 6. I often add a brass conehead for more flash and a fast vertical drop.
*Black Body/Black Hackle/Black Tail with Silver Flash is my choice for dirty water.
*An all-white or cream Bugger with flash in the tail is a great baitfish imitation.
*Tan and brown saddles with dark mottling make great Buggers.
*My popular Bi-Bugger has a multi-tone Crayfish/Sculpin color scheme. Tail is black marabou over olive marabou with gold flash. Abdomen is olive dubbing with grizzly hackle. Thorax is black dubbing with black hackle.
NOTE: Since I dub and hackle in two stages, it’s simple to switch color schemes at the midpoint of the fly. You can easily create multi-tone Buggers in a range of colors.


Other Soft-Hackle Options for Palmering
Schlappen: Examine any rooster saddle; the long, webby hackle at the butt-end is Schlappen. It’s unsuitable for dry-fly use, but great for palmering Woollies. A single Schlappen feather is long enough to densely hackle an entire Woolly. Whiting cock saddles often have some Schlappen suitable for hackling Woollies in size 12 and smaller. Most other Schlappen is suitable for size 8 and larger. Schlappen can be purchased strung, in dyed and natural colors; the bulk of this material is best suited to large Buggers.
Rooster Breast, especially from Whiting, can be excellent Soft-Hackle. Whiting markets Chickabou patches from the undersides of roosters. For palmering, the useful feathers are not the small marabou-like plumes located at the rump end of the patch, but the attached breast feathers. They’re virtually interchangeable with hen saddle and have stronger stems.


Soft-Hackle for Collaring
-You don’t need long stems for collaring. Hackle color, mottling, softness, and barb length are more critical considerations.
-I collar steelhead and salmon flies with hen saddle. The soft, webby hackle moves wonderfully, and stem bulk is minimal.
-Hen necks provide excellent hackle for collaring even the smallest trout flies.


Soft-Hackle for Matuka Wings
Hen neck feathers make gorgeous Matuka Wings.


Soft-Hackle for Legging Nymphs
You can add inherent movement to any nymph pattern by palmering hen neck hackle over the thorax. Nymphs can be hackled in the round, or hackle can be trimmed or collapsed under a wing case to project from just the underside of the nymph.

 

 

 


 

"No Questions Asked" Return Policy

If you order feathers from me and are not happy for whatever reason, please contact me right away and I will resolve the problem. I don't want you to be unhappy with anything you purchase.

Thanks, David 608-332-4220

 


 

 

Free shipping on every feather!

 

Woolly Worm


Grizzly & Black

 

 

Comparing Neck, Saddle, and Matuka Feathers

3 distinct feather types

 

 

 

 

Hen Necks

 

Brown Grizzly

 

Olive Grizzly

 

 

Coq de Leon

 

 

Hen Saddles

 

Brown

 

Coq de Leon

 

Whiting American Hen

 

 

Woolly Bugger Hackle

Rooster Feathers

 

Rooster Cape Bugger

Hackle

 

 

 

Brown

 

 

 

 

Bugger Packs

Orange Grizzly

 

 

Orange Grizzly

 

 

 

Schlappen Bundles


 

 

 

Olive

 

 

Bugger Patches

 

 

 

 

Comparing

Feather Size & Shape

 

Hen Neck

 

 

Hen Saddle

 

 

Rooster Saddle
Hackle

 

 

 

Bugger Saddle Hackle

 

Brown

 

 

Grizzly

 

 

Dyed Black

 

 

Grizzly dyed Brown Olive

 

 

 

American Rooster Saddles

 

Orange

 


Chartreuse Grizzly

 

Yellow

 

 

Ewing Bugger Hackle

 

Red Grizzly

 

 

 

 

Marabou Packs

 


Peacock Herl

 

 

Marabou Packs

 

 

 

 

Black

 

 

 

 

Soft Hackle with Chickabou

 

magenta

 

 

 

Brahma

 

Comparing

Feather Size

 

Hen Neck

 

Hen Saddle

 

Soft

 

 

Bugger Saddle

 

 

Mini Schlappen

 

 

American Rooster

Saddle