On The Vise:Q & A “Substitute material for wild type brown/Iso Soft Hackle”

I had a question from Vicky who I’d met last year while doing a soft hackle presentation, about where to find the wild type brown and what to use as a substitute. The Whiting Wild type brown is one of my favorite all around dark brown hackles but its mostly reserved for my larger soft hackles such as “the brown ones” and the “Iso soft hackle

(and Hang on Troutbitten! Ill be posting about our discussion on what to do with too much hackle and not enough hook soon! Because it goes hand in hand with the fact that these big feathers can be great on smaller flies when tweaked a little)

But what else can you use as a substitute when you cant get your hands on it just yet?

Lets take a look.

 

I have a little soft hackle hoarding problem..there’s more.. way more. Id better tie faster.

 

Now I grabbed a small handful of my darker browns above to do a few comparisons and as you can see they are much different but can work

This here is the Wild Type Brown that i talk about a lot

 

Its a Hebert Miner and made by Whiting

 

Product code in case you need it for ordering

 

Keep in mind that these are soft hackles and you will find that the more the trout beat them up the better they work! These Iso’s are meant to be fished in faster moving water and twitched every so often as to imitate an Iso swimming to emerge. The trout arent going to get an upclose and personal look at them.

So dont go to crazy trying to match exactly.

Now… lets inspect some hackle!

In the top middle of the photo above is the wild type brown and its what we will be trying to match. As you can see some feathers are rounded others long some dark some lighter ect..

 

This one here has the mottling but the shape is different. Doesn’t mean it wont work

 

These feathers are rounder.. and too light.

 

Ah… here is a good one! The coloration is good and this is just a generic hackle, I dont know where I even acquired it.

 

This could also work! The detail is there on this one!

 

As you can see, once sorting through some of your saddles you can find a “close enough”. And That white stripe I will show you later in a pattern where I use it for the Iso’s back.

But dont fear when its not an exact material that’s listed and im going to show you why in a minute.

In the middle here Is what I would deem “close enough” and its just a generic hen hackle.

 

And upon closer inspection you can see that while there is nooooo way to match the quality of the whiting on the right, but that the left is a close enough match for the time being.

 

And I know this, because I’ve used it before and it worked just fine. Sometimes we are our own worst critics. But as you will soon see, when I compare two of my whiting wild type browns they aren’t so exact either.

The quality is awesome but they aren’t exact. It happens often with lots of hackle. Its why we must inspect them before buying, so we can get the one we like the most that will work for the pattern we are tying.

But they both work on that pattern and they both catch fish.

Lets take another closer look.

 

man! these are sexyyyyyyy! hahah dont laugh you know you’ve said the same thing about materials now and then.

 

Also note– See how the colors change through out the photographs? Its why you have to use your own judgement and what will match the hatch in your area with this.

Now The One on the left, above and below as you can see, have lighter edging and lighter stems. The one on the right with more mottling.

Up close to see the difference

 

Even more differences in shape

 

Two whiting wild type brown feathers here side by side.

 

As you can see from what we have shown here, that while they might be excellent quality and I prefer to use them, the fact is that wild type browns aren’t always exact from one saddle to the next; this is why you can substitute them for something that’s close enough for the time being in this pattern.

I hope this helped Vicky!

P.S. – But the next time you see some Wild Type Brown… buy it before I do! ahhhaha You will find many uses for it.

Outdoor Wanderings: “The Stowaways!”

Well, what started as a last minute day off, scouting for a new bass fishing spot.. Turned into.. A couple of stowaway ducklings?!

this was where we found them

at first we just figured the mother went “out for a minute”

top water heaven
So after me giggling like a 4 year old about how cute they were, we launched the boat and took off in search of monster bass.

but we didnt get too far..

before we heard these faint cries and saw them

they followed us everywhere and tucked themselves under the side of the boat crying

we caught quite a few fish while we wondered what was going on with the new found stowaways

but no matter where we fished, as soon as they lost sight of us theyd cry and swim as fast as they could after the boat

later in the afternoon the wind picked up and the lightning started so we pulled the boat out

anddddd they followed.

they napped at our feet while we loaded our things.

At that point we realized there was something weird about these ducks. Even if a mother duck left them they wouldn’t be so attached to humans, plus they aren’t identical like the majority of wild animals. So I called around. I then spoke to a few water fowl rescues and sent them photos which confirmed our suspicions.

they arent wild at all!
They said the ducklings must have been someone’s pets they had abandoned there thinking they’d live. According to the rescue they are only a few days old and would’ve died because they are domestic. She knew exactly what type of ducklings they were. So we took them home with us for the night.

It was quite interesting since they’d cry when you walked away, but as soon as you came back in the room And looked at them they’d sit. And fall asleep!

hanging out in the yard

The next morning we drove them to a waterfowl rescue Where they will happily be living out the rest of their days on a farm

goodbye little ones! we will come visit you

“Fly tying 101”-Loading/threading your Bobbin

Bobbins.

They weren’t always around.

Before bobbins were used tyers simply used a length of thread in between their hands to tie flies. I myself have tied without a bobbin as well, but it was only because I had broken it and didn’t feel like leaving to buy a new one. While it wasn’t the most efficient way to work; it had gotten the job done and in the same amount of time.

If you are new to fly tying or a participant our Project Healing Waters or Kids On the Fly group, you can rest easy knowing that when you come for your first session, we always take the time to go over all the basics with anyone who is new before they start tying.

These basics are how many of us begin our journeys behind the vise, and it’s where you will start to build your skills. Two such things you will do on a repeated basis (until you become a little bit obsessed.. go out and buy a whole bunch of Bobbins so that you don’t ever really need to change your thread) 😂 are “loading” and “threading” them.

And how does that work?

Let us begin!

Here they are, thread and bobbin.
Here they are, thread and bobbin.

When you buy a new spool of thread you may find that there are stickers over the open holes you see in the photo above. Before trying to load your bobbin to the spool, be sure to clear the holes. If you don’t do this, you will find that the spool will have trouble spinning freely as you tie.

With the holes cleared, take the spool of thread in one hand and the bobbin in the other and position one of the round ends into that spool hole
With the holes cleared, take the spool of thread in one hand and the bobbin in the other and position one of the round ends into that spool hole.
Now with your other hand grab the spool and place one side of it into the bobbin.
Now with your other hand grab the spool and place one side of it into the bobbin.
Now .. push it in so that the other side clicks into place
Now .. push it in so that the other side clicks into place
That's it! You're in!
That’s it! You’re in!

 

Once you have the spool in, make sure it’s secure by wiggling it a little before threading it.

Thread loaded

 

On to the threading!

Now when it comes to threading a bobbin, there are a few different tools. But to save you the hassle of running down a list of the ones that dont work as well, ill skip right to the one that does.

And this one of them.

This is my favorite bobbin threader.
This is my favorite bobbin threader.

As you can see from the photo this threader is made out of one piece of metal. The one you have may be a piece of metal with a wire loop on the end; they will both get the job done as the technique is the same. Upon closer inspection you can see that the end of the threader has a hook on it which is the secret behind this little gadget.

Insert the hooked (or wire) end into the end of the bobbin.
Insert the hooked (or wire) end into the end of the bobbin.
Drop it in and it will come out the other side. If you are using the wire loop threader, simply push it through to the other side.
Drop it in and it will come out the other side. If you are using the wire loop threader, simply push it through to the other side.
Now Pull a length of thread out of your spool about two inches longer than the length of your bobbin, and hold everything in one hand.
Now Pull a length of thread out of your spool about two inches longer than the length of your bobbin, and hold everything in one hand.
You should be in this current situation now.

The photo above is where you should be at this point:

Here is where the threading happens. However you want to hold it is up to you but I find that holding the bobbin and threader combo in one hand, while using the other hand to loop the thread over the hook is the best way.

Use one hand to hold bobbin/threader combo and then use the other hand to loop the thread over the hook. If you have a wire bobbin threader you will insert one end of the thread through the wire loop instead.
Use one hand to hold bobbin/threader combo and then use the other hand to loop the thread over the hook. If you have a wire bobbin threader you will insert one end of the thread through the wire loop instead.
Hold the looped over (inserted) thread taught in one hand.
Hold the looped over (inserted) thread taught in one hand.
And begin to pull the end of the threader back the way you put it in. This will take the hooked thread with it.
And begin to pull the end of the threader back the way you put it in. This will take the hooked thread with it.
Keep pulling while keeping just a little tension on that loose thread with the other hand so it doesn't slip.
Keep pulling while keeping just a little tension on that loose thread with the other hand so it doesn’t slip.
Pull up and all the way through.
Pull up and all the way through.
That's it! You're loaded and threaded and ready to tie.
That’s it! You’re loaded and threaded and ready to tie.
Threaded Bobbin
Threaded Bobbin

Another quick tip when tying with a bobbin

If you find that you are having trouble getting the spool to spin freely, (especially when they are new) what you have to do is take off the thread and grab those two arms that hold the spool in place, then slightly pull them apart. Almost like you are separating a wishbone.

..almost.. like separating one.

So don’t pull too hard because its going to be more difficult to try and push it back together while keeping it aligned than it is to open it a little at a time. You wont need to do this every time, just until you break them in. Also make sure that you dont have any stickers which are keeping it from spinning freely.

On My Vise: Partridge and Orange 

The Partridge and Orange is a staple in many fly boxes and an excellent fly to fish during a caddis hatch.

I tie them a few different ways, sometimes with floss and wire rib but mostly, I just this simple pattern that’s been around forever.

Partridge and Orange

  • Hook: Standard Wet Fly Hook
  • Thread: Orange silk, also used for the body
  • Hackle: Lighter colored feather from near the shoulders/neck area of the partridge; tied in by the stem
  • Thorax: Natural Hares ear
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